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Archive for the ‘Social Responsibility’ Category

Workers Satisfied With Company’s Social Responsibility Are More Engaged and Positive

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Satisfied to be Part of the Team at WorkEmployees who are satisfied with their company’s commitment to social responsibility have positive views about their employer in several other key areas – including its sense of direction, competitiveness, integrity, interest in their well-being, and employee engagement, according to a survey conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, specialists in attitude research.

70 percent of employees are positive about their employer’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), according to the survey of 1.6 million employees from more than 70 organizations.
Employees who have a favorable view of an organization’s corporate social responsibility commitment in such areas as environmental awareness are also positive about several factors important to its success, including:

— Senior management’s integrity

— Senior management’s inspirational sense of direction

— Organization’s competitiveness in the marketplace

— Company’s interest in employees’ well-being

— Employees’ engagement or pride in their organization

“Businesses that recognize the importance of social responsibility often have employees who tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, adopt similar values, and become more committed to achieving success within the industry,” said Douglas Klein, President of Sirota Survey Intelligence.

Integrity of Senior Management
Among employees with a positive view of their organization’s CSR commitment, 71% also rate senior management as having high integrity. When employees are negative about their employer’s CSR activities, only 21% rate senior management as having high integrity.
“Employee views of CSR are connected with a broader assessment of the character of senior leadership – meaning that management can be relied on to follow through on what they say,” said Klein. “However, leaders who are seen as incapable of following through are unlikely to be regarded as being socially responsible.”

Senior Management’s Inspirational Sense of Direction
67% of employees who are satisfied with their employer’s CSR commitment feel that senior management has a strong sense of direction. When employees are negative about their company’s CSR activities, only 18% feel senior management has a strong sense of direction.
“Effective leaders connect the dots for their employees,” said Klein. “When employees question the time or money spent on certain social initiatives or any other activities, an effective leader will demonstrate the strategic importance these programs play in supporting the interests of the business.”

Employee Engagement
86% of employees who are satisfied with their organization’s CSR commitment have high levels of engagement. When employees are negative about their employer’s CSR activities, only 37% are highly engaged.
“A sense of pride is a major driver of both morale and business results, because people want to be associated with a successful organization that has a positive image,” said Klein. “Insightful leaders recognize that strategic CSR enhances morale, and higher morale contributes to better business results.

Interest In Employees’ Well-Being
75% of employees who are satisfied with their company’s commitment to CSR feel their employer is interested in their well-being. When employees are negative about their company’s CSR commitment, only 17% say their company is interested in their well-being – the lowest finding in the study.
“Employees do not divide the moral compass of their company into one part for employees and another part for the community,” said Klein. “Their employers’ commitment to corporate social responsibility is critical in conveying that the organization acts in their best interests, and is dedicated to treating them fairly and equitably.”

Marketplace Competitiveness
82% of employees who are satisfied with their employer’s CSR commitment also feel their organization is highly competitive in the marketplace. When employees are negative about their company’s CSR activities, only 41% feel it is competitive in the marketplace.
“To employees, CSR and business success go together. Companies that enhance their reputations through CSR perform better, and generate greater employee loyalty from workers,” said Klein.

Why Social Responsibility is Important to Your Business – Good Things Do Happen to Good People!

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Many business owners and managers see corporate social responsibility (CSR) as something that’s ‘nice to do,’ but not really connected to growing the business and profits. Just the other day I had an experience that shows how wrong this is….

I took part in a training exercise where half the class pretended to be ‘employers’. The other half of the class pretended to be ‘potential employees.’ We (the ‘employers’) had to find a way to attract the ‘employees’ to come and work for us.

Sounds simple? Well I thought so. I was an employer offering flexible working hours, a great salary and career development. Yet my new recruits were undecided. But then I spoke about our corporate social responsibility program and they were suddenly a whole lot more enthusiastic. I signed them up.

Okay, so it was only a game. But it is a great example of how corporate social responsibility (CSR) can make all the difference to your competitive position. Initiatives such as pro bono work, philanthropy, support for community-building initiatives and environmental awareness can add significant value to your company, and if the program is well-designed, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

An easy way for your company to build its brand, reputation and public profile

Being socially responsible creates goodwill and a positive image for your brand. Trust and a good reputation are some of your company’s most valuable assets. In fact, without these, you wouldn’t even have a business. You can nurture these important assets by being socially responsible.

It is crucial, however, that you devise the right socially responsible program for your business. When used properly, it will open up a myriad of new relationships and opportunities. Not only will your success grow, but so will your company’s culture. It will become a culture which you, your staff and the wider community genuinely believe in.

Corporate Social Responsibility attracts and retains staff

Did you know that socially responsible companies report increased employee commitment, performance and job satisfaction?

Yes, it is in us all to want to do ‘good’ (and perhaps be recognised for it). Our lives become meaningful when we realise our work has made a positive difference in some way. It makes all our striving worth it. In fact, a 2003 Stanford University study found MBA graduates would sacrifice an average $13700 cut in their salary to work for a socially responsible company.

By attracting, retaining and engaging staff, ‘doing good’ for others reduces your recruitment costs and improves work productivity. It’s just plain good all ‘round!

Customers are attracted to socially responsible companies

Branding your business as ‘socially responsible’ differentiates you from your competitors. The Body Shop and Westpac are companies who have used this to their advantage. Developing innovative products that are environmentally or socially responsible adds value and gives people a good reason to buy from you.

Corporate Social Responsibility attracts investors

Investors and financiers are attracted to companies who are socially responsible. These decision-makers know this reflects good management and a positive reputation. Don’t underestimate this influence; it can be just as important as your company’s financial performance. In fact, it may be the deciding factor in choosing to support your company.

Corporate Social Responsibility encourages professional (and personal) growth

Your staff can develop their leadership and project management skills through a well-designed corporate social responsibility program. This may be as simple as team-building exercises or encouraging your employees to form relationships with people they would not normally meet (like disadvantaged groups).

Corporate Social Responsibility helps to cut your business costs

Environmental initiatives such as recycling and conserving energy increase in-house efficiency and cut costs. Introducing a corporate social responsibility program gives you a good reason to examine and improve on your spending!

Two important tips for you

Before you rush into your own corporate social responsibility program, remember:

* You must implement your program strategically. Just giving a donation is not enough. The best corporate social responsibility programs are based on a two-way relationship with you and each of the organisations you are involved with. This allows both parties to be challenged and grow together.

* Your corporate social responsibility commitments should be in line with the values of your company, customers and staff. Most importantly, they must be based on a genuine concern for people and the community. You do not want the program to backfire, making you seem hypocritical. A poor strategy will cause people to become cynical and distrustful of your company.

But all in all, corporate social responsibility makes financial sense, adds meaning to your work and makes everyone feel good!

So what should you do next?

It is a highly competitive world out there. If you want people to buy from you, work for you and invest in you, look seriously at corporate social responsibility.

Dianne Taylor – About the Author:

To find out how your company can grow from a corporate social responsibility program, contact Dianne Taylor at Sirius Business on dtaylor@siriusbusiness.com.au. Dianne is currently offering free advice on how to implement an effective corporate social responsibility program. This advice includes a list of 10 Simple Corporate Social Responsibility Actions for your business.

With over 25 years as the co-owner of a successful engineering business employing 30 staff, combined with a background in leadership development and education, Dianne has a wealth of experience to draw upon. Dianne’s practical experience is supported by qualifications in coaching, training, human resource management and business. As a business management and leadership coach, consultant, speaker and trainer, Dianne is passionate about helping people and organisations discover and realise their potential. Have a look at Anderson Gray Worldwide – http://www.anderson-gray.com

Uncertain Times and Corporate Social Responsibility: Companies Should Reach Out to Many Affected

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

During uncertain economic times when workforce reductions and other cutbacks may be necessary, employers that proactively reach out to their multiple constituencies – including their employees, communities in which they do business, suppliers, and opinion leaders – emerge better from such situations than organizations that do not, according to Sirota Survey Intelligence, specialists in attitude research.

Organizations that adopt a true partnership culture – where relationships between the employer and its multiple constituencies are based on mutual trust and benefit – endure over time, according to Douglas Klein, president of Sirota Survey Intelligence (www.sirota.com).

Organizations are never separate from the communities in which they are based; aside from the labor pool from which organizations draw employees, each company has an impact on the community in many ways, according to Klein. “That impact – beneficial or negative – is quickly understood and communicated to other places these days, via the internet and media. Wise organizations understand this ‘partnership’ and the reciprocal nature of the relationship,” Klein added.

Employers should not forget that employees’ job security, and the degree to which workers perceive that their employers have a genuine interest in the welfare of the communities in which they do business, have a direct impact on employees’ overall satisfaction with their employer, according to Sirota’s research:

— 83% of employees who feel secure about their jobs are also satisfied overall with their employer

— Only 50% of employees who feel insecure about their jobs are satisfied overall with their employer

— 82% of employees who feel that their employers have a genuine interest in their communities are satisfied overall with their employer

— Only 49% of employees who do not perceive their employers to be good “corporate citizens” are satisfied overall with their employer

“The true manifestation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in practice is attending to the needs of each constituency so there is alignment and consistency between the way the organization behaves, and all of those affected by its actions,” said Klein. “During uncertain times, decisions about the workforce, and how these actions affect communities, should mutually reinforce one another, rather than be adversarial,” Klein added.

“An employer that treats its employees as true partners makes every effort to avoid layoffs. When it becomes necessary to reduce costs, many steps can probably be taken as an alternative to involuntary layoffs. These are known as ‘rings of defense,’ or defense against involuntary terminations,” Klein said.

Alternatives to layoffs include:
— Normal workforce attrition
— Hiring freezes
— Reduction in temporary employees and overtime
— Cutbacks in expenses
— Improved process efficiencies
— Bringing subcontracted work back in-house
— Across-the-board pay cuts
— Shortened work weeks
— Voluntary unpaid leaves of absence

If these steps are not enough to avoid involuntary layoffs, the input of employees, surrounding communities, and other constituencies needs to be measured before, during, and after taking action, according to Klein.

“Surveying employees to assess their views provides important information to assist in managing through the process, and their involvement is an excellent example of partnership in action. Employees themselves can be a source of many useful suggestions about how to best handle the situation, and they are one of the best monitors of the effectiveness of steps taken,” Klein said.

According to Sirota’s research, an organization’s relationship with its communities is as important in uncertain times as is the relationship with its employees. “Involving key community members to seek their views about proposed changes, such as cutbacks in charitable contributions, can alert companies to any unintended consequences. Input can come from opinion leaders, community organizations, and the general public. The key is to make needed changes in alignment with the needs of the community, rather than trying to decide what’s best for them. Then, measuring again after the changes have been made provides feedback as to whether these changes are actually having the desired impact,” Klein said.

Changes and plans that affect one constituency must be communicated to all other stakeholders as well. “It is vital that the organization is viewed as engaging in even-handed, participative efforts that minimize any negative impact,” Klein said.

Copyright 2007. Reprinted with permission from www.hr.com,  your community for knowledge, expertise and resources.

Need help in this area? Try: Taking Charge of Change
Change is going to happen now more than ever. HR’s challenge is to show people how to deal with it. This program teaches employees the three “phases’’ of accepting change and how to perform at their best through all of them.

Workplace Responsibility Toward Environment Gaining Foothold

Monday, March 10th, 2008

By Kathy Gurchiek

Half of HR professionals surveyed say their organization has a formal or informal policy on environmental responsibility, and another 7 percent plan to adopt a policy in the next 12 months. That’s among the findings of a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) online survey of 391 HR professionals conducted September 2007 and released in January 2008.

“The impact of our daily activities on the environment and the desire to go green has expanded from just individuals to organizations,” writes lead researcher Justina Victor in the report. “More organizations are volunteering to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. Local municipalities are encouraging businesses to become greener by offering incentives. In the near future, ‘being green’ could become the norm.”

Encouraging employees to be more environmentally friendly at work—making double-sided photocopies, using energy-efficient bulbs for desk lamps, lowering blinds in the summer to conserve energy, powering down computers that are inactive after a few minutes—was the main way their organizations were environmentally responsible, HR professionals said

Other top practices they cited include:
• Offering recycling programs for office products, including plastic, glass, cans and Styrofoam.
• Using energy-efficient lighting systems and equipment, such as occupancy sensors; using Energy Star equipment; and changing from desktop to laptop computers.
• Installing automatic shutoff for equipment.
• Buying or leasing refurbished goods such as toner cartridges, copiers, printers, fax machines, retread tires and re-refined oil.
• Promoting walking, biking and use of public transit.
• Partnering with suppliers and companies that are environmentally friendly.
• Minimizing pollution, such as the air and water emissions during production.
• Participating in or sponsoring projects and events in the community, such as plant-a-tree day and fundraisers for a local nature preserve.

When SHRM asked 504 non-HR employees, in a separate but related survey, what was the most important environmental practice that organizations can perform, a majority pointed to donating or discounting used office furniture and supplies to employees or local charities.
In addition, they cited using water-conserving plumbing fixtures such as faucet aerators and low-flow toilets, and offering recycling programs for old cell phones and other selected personal products.

Getting the Word Out
Among the HR professionals who said their employer has a policy of being environmentally responsible, a majority (63 percent) communicate their policy through in-house newsletters or other publications. Some include that commitment among their stated goals (40 percent); mission or vision statement (38 percent); annual report (23 percent) and an environmental report (10 percent).
Contributing toward society—being a good corporate citizen and embracing ethical considerations—is the main reason why organizations should take a greener attitude, both HR professionals and employees said.

In fact, contribution to society is the key driver of their environmentally responsible programs, according to almost seven out of 10 HR professionals and one-third of non-HR employees. Other top reasons HR cited included environmental and economic considerations, while non-HR employees saw their employers’ programs as part of a good public relations strategy.

“I am seeing a real trend among small companies I work with,” commented Nancy C. Nelson, SPHR, and a member of SHRM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Special Expertise Panel, in the report. “They want to adopt ‘green’ business practices, separate from any compliance requirement that may come into play,” noted Nelson. The director of HRProse LLC was among 10 external reviewers and contributors to the survey report.

Such programs foster improved morale and a stronger public image, both HR and non-HR employees said, and HR professionals at small organizations were more apt to see such a program result in improved morale.

Fellow panel member and The Hermann Group President Gerlinde Hermann thinks green initiatives, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in general, are tools for recruiting young workers but warns organizations they must back up their talk with action. She noted that “these potential employees check the background of organizations and talk with employees or past employees to find out for themselves” whether the organization delivers what it promises. “Better to have genuine green/CSR initiatives which are grassroots and inexpensive than to have a massive promo campaign involving significant funding—it’s the realness that is the selling feature,” Hermann said in the report.

It can be a retention tool as well. Sixty-one percent of employees whose employer participated in practices that were friendly to the environment said they are “very likely” or “likely” to stay at the organization because of its environmentally responsible programs. Despite these reasons for being more environmentally responsible, the cost of implementing and of maintaining them are the top barriers for taking action (85 percent and 74 percent, respectively), HR professionals said.

Lack of management support is the third largest barrier HR saw to being environmentally responsible. While 43 percent of HR professionals said their departments were involved directly in such a program at their organization, creating and implementing it starts with the senior management team or an employee taskforce or committee, a majority of HR professionals and non-HR employees said.
The effort doesn’t have to be big and splashy, though. “It is possible for every organization to provide some level of environmentally responsible practices,” SHRM CSR Special Expertise Panel member Victoria Johnson, PHR, noted in the report.

Such programs can benefit employers in many ways, according to the report. “A greener workplace can mean productive and healthy employees,” Victor writes, “and [can strengthen] an organization’s financial bottom line through operating efficiencies and innovations.”

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at kgurchiek@shrm.org

7 Ways to Promote Corporate Social Responsibility

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Corporate Social Responsibility – or CSR – is a business strategy with a growing currency in the US and around the world. CSR argues that organizations have a responsibility to multiple stakeholders in the conduct of their business, and not just to the shareholders. It is about businesses assuming responsibilities that go well beyond the scope of simple commercial relationships.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines CSR as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”.

A growing number of research projects and surveys reveal strong linkages between an organization’s CSR activities and improvements in a company’s traditional performance drivers, such as competitiveness, market positioning, investor relations, recruiting and risk management. There are now scores of investment funds available to people who wish to invest in companies or producers that are socially and environmentally responsible.

Although this definition may be at odds with certain financial expectations of maximizing shareholder value, American companies are becoming much more aware of their responsibilities to the communities and markets in which they operate. And they are vigorously, but not universally, embracing these objectives.

Indeed, corporate annual reports are indicating significant citizenship activities that add value to their stakeholders. PepsiCo, for example, clearly articulates its responsibilities regarding the environment and community affairs. It has established measurement indexes for human, environmental, and talent sustainability that impacts executive decision making. Kellogg’s donates over 20 million dollars of their products each year to fight world hunger. In 2005, Ben & Jerry’s opened a store in Austin, Texas for a community organization that helps at-risk youth and families. The store provides job opportunities for the community’s clients and all profits from the store go directly to the organization. Ben & Jerry’s does not collect a franchise fee.

Regionally, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have established state-wide organizations that provide resources, share best practices, and discuss public policy issues related to CSR practices. The Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility (www.mebsr.org) is an organization made up of diverse businesses who believe, in theory and in practice, that companies can be a powerful force for positive change in their communities in which they conduct their operations. Their mission statement is quite clear: “Successful management of the dual bottom line of profitability and social responsibility will be the goal of every business in the state.”

CSR can be defined by many variables. Yet more and more stakeholders are requesting and demanding that companies in their communities and portfolios focus as much attention to their CSR as they do to their financials.

Human Resources shares the lead in advancing and articulating the company’s approach to CSR.
In the quest for top notch employees, recruiters at colleges are routinely being asked about their company’s commitment to and examples of CSR. Generation X’ers and Generation Y’ers are aggressive in their desire to work for companies that are socially responsive in addition to their financial and business acumen.

Corporate Social Responsibility will not solve all of society’s ills, but it will go along way to making the world a better place. In corporate terms, CSR makes good business sense. It gives everyone a reason to smile. It is what the future of business is all about.

Here are some suggestions for Human Resources leaders on how to promote corporate social responsibility within their organizations:

1. Define corporate social responsibility for your company or industry.

What works for a bank or furniture manufacturer may be significantly different from a bottling company or a grocery store chain.

2. Conduct extensive and continual research on the concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, mentioned above, and the Global Reporting Initiative (www.globalreporting.org) are two excellent research sources.

3. Establish metrics for measuring the impact of the company’s CSR practices.

For example, what percentage of after tax dollars is used to support these activities? How does it compare to other comparable companies? How many labor hours per month or per year are set aside for CSR activities? Quantitative metrics are easier to defend and promote than qualitative metrics.

4. Involve employees in defining and advancing CSR.

Form ad-hoc groups to decide how best to be appropriately socially responsible with the resources available. Give them the authority and responsibility to figure out a way to make it happen. They will do it far faster than some corporate committee.

5. Keep track of all measurable costs.

As much as the company wants to be socially responsible, it also has an obligation to be fiscally accountable to other shareholders;

6. Communicate to everyone – sometimes subtly, sometimes loudly.

Publicize your activities internally to all employees and externally to all other stakeholders as appropriate. Invite civic, religious, and corporate leaders in to show what you are doing and encourage them to join you in their efforts.

7. Establish positive and pro-active relationships with other socially responsible companies.

There is power in numbers and they are always a great source of ideas that might work for your organization.

Copyright 2007
Ken Moore is an organizational development consultant in Albany, NY. He is an adjunct professor of strategic management at SUNY-Albany and the Union Graduate College in Schenectady, NY. He is a 1971 graduate of Nasson College in Springvale, ME.



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