World events highlight important role of CSR

 When I was advised of the schedule for the 2005 professional agenda columns prior to Christmas 2004 my initial reaction was to write the first column of the New Year on a topical HR subject, such as employer branding in an ever competitive market, or the maximisation of performance and return on investment.

Little did I realise that the Christmas break would be overshadowed by the news of a human catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions in Asia. How many of us in the HR profession have considered in the past the meaning of the word tsunami and what havoc it could wreak in terms of human suffering?

It is not my intention to reiterate the statistics already reported, or indeed the terrible death toll which resulted, other than to emphasise the long-term need for aid and assistance which all of us in the HR profession can assist with and I am sure many have already become involved in the effort.

Over many years as an HR director I have been amazed by the ability of my HR team members to initiate, co-ordinate and drive major charitable fundraising activities across organisations. Part of the professional HR agenda is a strong interest in community affairs and as the world becomes smaller, with globalisation of operations, offshoring, international acquisitions and executive hires, the community in which we operate continues to grow, both in size and complexity resulting in broader corporate responsibility.

With this in mind should we not all take up the challenge, as part of our professional agenda for 2005 and beyond, to assist with short-, medium- and long-term relief and reconstruction efforts, by way of fundraising through company-wide initiatives and events?

Some activities which have been employed with excellent results in the past have included:

– sponsorship: events around the UK, including employee fun runs, vintage car runs, bungee and parachute jumps, and so on

– corporate events: company/supplier/client dinners, football matches (directors versus employees), and company employee events, such as picnics, discos, theatre trips, hot air ballooning and river trips

– corporate charitable donations: whatever the size of organisation and allocated budget, at group, divisional and business unit level.

There are many ways of assisting with the aid effort and I am sure many of my colleagues have their own ideas. So what about it? Are we all up for the challenge of assisting those in need and also producing a corporate feelgood factor?

By Stephen Hall, director, Stephen M Hall & Associates

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