The value that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have on an internal organisational culture is most times overlooked. Often, so much emphasis is placed on what’s happening on the outside of an organisation that many companies neglect to turn their CSR focus inwards, as well.
One of the main reasons we employ a CSR strategy relates to reputation management; but when do you take the time to stop and think about your internal reputation? Bringing your employees on board with your CSR activities and promoting an internal culture of social responsibility will not only strengthen your external business, but also foster a greater sense of employee loyalty and commitment to your organisation, aside from their daily obligations. These days, employees want to work for (and stay with) companies they see as having some sort of moral compass, not just a big faceless corporation.
Therefore, as a best practice, CSR involves not only looking outwards to the community and your external stakeholders, but also directing your social investment inwards with initiatives such as employee volunteering, engaging your staff to do something positive in the community, internal educational and social programs, and the promotion of environmental strategies like using recycled paper and internal ‘clean up’ days.
In her blog ‘The global benefits of stakeholder engagement’ (http://corporatecitizenship.bc.edu/global-stakeholder-engagement), Katherine V. Smith encourages her readers to look at the bigger picture of CSR and says instead of questioning if there are bad corporate citizenship programs, ask yourself are you getting the greatest possible social and business value from your CSR investment?
Logically, to maximise your goodwill investment you must incorporate CSR into your organisational culture. The company must engage both internal and external stakeholders to take full advantage of what Corporate Social Responsibility has to offer. Including any kind stakeholder engagement will add to the value of your CSR investment, but if you include your employees in your CSR story or (even better) make them a part of the story, they will ultimately be your finest ‘message champions’ and reputation builders to the outside world and external business environment.
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