Peo­ple plus planet equals tal­ent mag­net

Mail & Guardian - - Top Employers -

CSR and sus­tain­abil­ity pro­grammes form a cru­cial link with prof­itabil­ity, re­search re­veals — and they are also emerg­ing as a key dif­fer­en­tia­tor in the re­cruit­ment process.

Cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) pro­grammes are a key mech­a­nism to boost en­gage­ment and at­tract top tal­ent, re­search among Top Em­ploy­ers across South Africa shows.

Ef­fec­tive CSR pro­grammes grow the three Ps: profit, peo­ple and planet, says Billy El­liott, coun­try man­ager of the Top Em­ploy­ers In­sti­tute (TEI) in South Africa. In­creas­ing this “triple bot­tom line” is a con­sis­tent pat­tern among Top Em­ploy­ers, and re­search shows 97% of Top Em­ploy­ers in the coun­try have de­fined an or­gan­i­sa­tion-wide CSR pro­gramme.

Why you should be lever­ag­ing CSR The TEI, which cer­ti­fies and recog­nises ex­cel­lence in the con­di­tions em­ploy­ers cre­ate for their peo­ple glob­ally, helps or­gan­i­sa­tions stay on top of cur­rent HR best prac­tices. One of the ar­eas that the TEI re­searches is how to en­sure an ef­fec­tive CSR pro­gramme.

The ma­jor­ity of Top Em­ploy­ers across South Africa im­ple­ment all these prac­tices in their CSR pro­grammes, says El­liott: “Tak­ing CSR se­ri­ously as a dif­fer­en­tia­tor is as es­sen­tial in the com­pe­ti­tion for tal­ent as it is for rep­u­ta­tion build­ing among stake­hold­ers.

“CSR and sus­tain­abil­ity pro­grammes are the pri­mary way that or­gan­i­sa­tions demon­strate their will­ing­ness to im­prove so­ci­ety and give back in a mean­ing­ful way,” says El­liott. “As such, these ini­tia­tives are emerg­ing as a key mech­a­nisms not only to make em­ploy­ees feel proud and in­volved with the or­gan­i­sa­tion — en­hanc­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture — but to at­tract new tal­ent.”

How you should be lever­ag­ing CSR

Forbes con­trib­u­tor James Ep­steinReeves agrees that an ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented CSR pro­gramme can have a ma­jor im­pact on em­ployee en­gage­ment and stake­holder re­la­tion­ships and there­fore, ul­ti­mately, prof­itabil­ity. Echo­ing El­liott’s sen­ti­ments on the three Ps, Ep­steinReeves cites a link be­tween CSR and in­no­va­tion, brand dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, em­ployee en­gage­ment and even long-term cost sav­ing.

Ef­fec­tive­ness re­quires buy-in, points out El­liott. Across South Africa, 94% of Top Em­ploy­ers con­sis­tently make information about their CSR pro­gramme freely ac­ces­si­ble to em­ploy­ees, and 87% con­sis­tently eval­u­ate their im­pact and ef­fec­tive­ness. In or­der to en­cour­age em­ploy­ees to par­tic­i­pate, over 75% grant spe­cial leave for par­tic­i­pa­tion in CSR ac­tiv­i­ties.

South African Top Em­ployer Thermo Fisher Sci­en­tific, for ex­am­ple, sup­ports Stop Hunger Now, an in­ter­na­tional body that co-or­di­nates the dis­tri­bu­tion of food and other life-sav­ing aid. Kirstie Bean, HR leader Africa for the com­pany, says via Thermo Fisher’s CSR pro­gramme Get In­volved, em­ploy­ees from var­i­ous di­vi­sions work to­gether to pack food ham­pers, some­times up to 20 000 in a sin­gle drive.

Lever­ag­ing CSR for the long-term

Por­tia Ban­gerezako, head of Sus­tain­abil­ity at Top Em­ployer South Africa San­lam, says that as a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, San­lam aims to help build eco­nomic re­silience, and their progress is re­ported an­nu­ally in the sus­tain­abil­ity re­port. The re­port links CSR to the com­pany strat­egy over­all, and em­ploy­ees are en­cour­aged to vol­un­teer ideas.

Some tar­gets set by San­lam in­clude re­duc­ing their own elec­tric­ity and wa­ter con­sump­tion; a trans­for­ma­tive part­ner­ship with WWF SA, iden­ti­fy­ing strate­gic wa­ter sources (an open source project which is ac­ces­si­ble to all); and dis­tribut­ing a high-res­o­lu­tion wa­ter risk fil­ter tool to help in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies de­ter­mine their wa­ter risks. San­lam also pi­loted a project that al­lowed for self-sus­tain­ing ac­tive own­er­ship for or­gan­ised labour, in­tended to ca­pac­i­tate union mem­bers and en­able them to query is­sues per­tain­ing to en­vi­ron­ment, so­cial and gov­er­nance tar­gets. San­lam spent a to­tal of R207mil­lion on skills de­vel­op­ment for its em­ploy­ees and R116.7-mil­lion on en­ter­prise and sup­plier de­vel­op­ment in 2016.

Most of these goals are long term. CSR is a marathon, not a sprint, but done right, it ben­e­fits all, Ban­gerezako points out. “We con­tinue to look at a way to im­prove our busi­ness, clients we serve, em­ploy­ees and wider so­ci­ety, and have com­mit­ted to a way we can have a ma­te­rial im­pact on the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.