Integrating CSR into HR strategy: Our guide


CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) represents a commitment by companies to integrate social, environmental and economic objectives into their activities. While companies have long regarded CSR as a question of waste management, energy consumption and pollution, in recent years CSR has taken on a central role in corporate strategy, and its integration into human resources strategy has become a necessity.

Indeed, HR plays a central role in implementing the company’s CSR policy and strategy, since it ensures, among other things, the diversity, inclusion and well-being of its employees. But integrating CSR into your HR strategy means defining objectives, evaluation tools and training employees.

This article explores in detail the intertwining of CSR and HR strategy, highlighting multiple benefits such as enhanced corporate reputation, increased employee engagement, and the creation of a sustainable working environment. By understanding how these two areas interact synergistically, companies can build successful teams and actively contribute to a positive impact on society and the environment.

Understanding CSR and its importance

Definition of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR refers to a company’s global approach and practices in favor of sustainable development. Companies committed to CSR ensure that their activities have a positive social and environmental impact, while minimizing any adverse effects.


Impact of CSR on business and society

Where once companies were concerned only with their economic viability, today they must integrate environmental and societal concerns, otherwise their development will be threatened. Indeed, environmental issues are becoming increasingly important, and the expectations placed on companies in this respect are growing, both by employees and by customers.

As a result, a company’s brand image and reputation are directly impacted by a lack of social and environmental commitment. Employees, like customers and consumers, are demanding greater transparency and ethics in working and production conditions.

A genuine CSR approach therefore becomes a key factor in building employee loyalty, making the company more attractive and increasing employee commitment.

However, while companies seem to be aware of the social and environmental issues at stake, too few of them are integrating a genuine CSR approach into their HR strategy. According to an Opinion Way survey conducted in August 2023, only
23% of HR managers consider CSR to be a priority issue in their HR strategy

hand holding a leaf

HR strategy and its role in CSR

HR strategy definition and objectives

HR strategy is a comprehensive, planned approach to aligning HR practices with organizational objectives. It encompasses talent management and development, workforce planning, training, compensation, labor relations, and other HR-related aspects. This strategic approach aims to maximize employees’ contribution to the achievement of company objectives, by creating a work environment conducive to performance and professional fulfillment.

The objectives of HR strategy are varied, but they generally converge on creating a competent, motivated workforce aligned with the company’s vision. These objectives include recruiting and retaining talent, developing skills, promoting a consistent corporate culture, optimizing internal processes, proactively managing change, and contributing to the organization’s sustainability. HR strategy seeks to transform human resources management into a strategic lever, enabling the company to achieve its long-term objectives while meeting the needs and aspirations of its employees.

How can HR strategy contribute to CSR?

HR strategy plays a crucial role in making an effective contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Firstly, it can steer recruitment practices towards ethical and social criteria, favoring diversity and inclusion. By developing training programs focused on sustainability and responsibility, the HR strategy also helps to raise employee awareness of these issues.

Talent management, with a focus on professional development and pay equity, contributes to a responsible corporate culture. Wellness and flexibility policies encourage a healthy, balanced working environment. Transparent communication on internal CSR initiatives strengthens employee commitment.

In short, in many respects, HR is at the heart of CSR issues, and has a front-row seat to take measures in line with the company’s CSR policy (remuneration policy, gender equality, etc.) and to embody them: it is they who establish recruitment processes. They must therefore instill the company’s CSR values and commitment from the very beginning of recruitment, right through to onboarding and throughout the employee’s life with the company.

Steps for integrating CSR into HR strategy

Assessment of current practices

To integrate CSR into a company’s HR strategy, the first step is to carry out an audit to determine where the company stands in relation to social and environmental issues. This audit can then be used to identify priority areas of work, which will require the involvement of various stakeholders and raising their awareness of the issues and objectives at stake. Finally, an action plan can be defined.

Our CSR consultants
consultants can support you in this process by carrying out an audit and defining an action plan.

Development of CSR objectives aligned with HR strategy

There are a number of tools and methods available for implementing a CSR approach.

  • Defining CSR objectives and indicators CSR indicators: it is essential to set up indicators to measure the company’s CSR progress and assess the positive impact of its actions (turnover rate, absenteeism, gender equality index, rate of disabled employees, etc.);
  • CSR reporting CSR reporting: this involves giving an account of the company’s CSR performance in a CSR report (this report has been mandatory for companies with more than 500 employees since the “Grenelle 2” law of 2011);
  • Employee training The company must be able to rely on its managers to put CSR initiatives into practice at operational level, and to pass them on to their teams. It is therefore necessary to train employees through CSR skills development programs. Setting up CSR ambassadors within the company also makes it possible to have relays, essential for getting as many employees on board as possible.
  • CSR communication Responsible communication is essential for communicating CSR actions and results to all employees, as well as to customers and suppliers. CSR communication must also be integrated into internal and external HR communication.

Implementation of policies and procedures to achieve these objectives

CSR shouldn’t be imposed, it should be part of a company’s DNA. It is important that all employees are made aware of this, so the CSR training plans and programmes must enable :

  • managers to develop the skills needed to understand and manage the various aspects of CSR;
  • all employees to understand the challenges and expected results, and to become involved in a sustainable way.

According to the latest Cegos 2023 CSR barometerMore than half of employees are not directly involved, or do not feel involved, in their company’s CSR policy, and 72% of employees believe that their direct manager is not committed to CSR.

Our CSR consultants
consultants can help you train your teams and ambassadors.


bulb in which a plant grows

Benefits of integrating CSR into HR strategy

Improving your employer brand

Take into account CSR in its HR strategy has many benefits. As employees become increasingly aware of social and environmental issues, they expect their company to take these into account. This improves the company’s image and reputation among employees, job applicants and, of course, the general public.

According to a
survey conducted in August 2023 by Opinion Way
77% of employees believe that a company that takes CSR into account is more attractive.

Attracting and retaining talent

The benefits of CSR for employees are undeniable, particularly in terms of attracting and retaining staff. Indeed, a company that implements a CSR policy as an integral part of its HR strategy largely favors well-being in the workplace, whether through a healthy social climate within the company, the introduction of employee savings schemes, improved working conditions, etc. health and safety at workAll these actions contribute to employees’ fulfillment at work, and thus to their desire to stay with the company. They also contribute to the desire to join the company, since, according to the same survey, for 69% of employees, CSR policy is an important criterion in choosing their future employer.

Positive impact on overall company performance

Finally, all this has an overall impact on employee commitment and therefore performance. In this way, CSR is a vector for enhanced overall performance for the company, through all the actions that can be put in place, such as :

  • Ensuring safe and healthy working conditions;
  • Ensure that wage policies are fair;
  • Invest in employee training and skills development ;
  • Promoting gender equality;
  • Encourage dialogue with employee representatives, unions and other stakeholders;
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion;
  • Implement recruitment, retention and promotion policies and practices;
  • Communicate regularly and transparently on CSR actions, progress and results;
  • Set CSR objectives for managers;
  • Integrate ethical and social criteria into supplier selection and evaluation;
  • Undertake a CSR labeling or reporting project (CSRD, Ecovadis, CSR labels, etc.);
  • Encourage employee involvement in volunteer activities or projects with a social impact.


In conclusion, integrating CSR into HR strategy appears to be an essential step towards a responsible and sustainable company, in line with current global issues and challenges (climate change, diversity and inclusion, energy sobriety…). By aligning HR practices with ethical and social values, companies can not only attract and retain committed talent, but also make a positive contribution to society. The positive impact on reputation, productivity and employee satisfaction reinforces the need to integrate CSR into HR strategy.


Would you like to integrate CSR into your HR strategy?

Delphine D, part-time HR manager and CSR consultant for Boost'RH Groupe

Delphine D, DRH à temps partagé et consultante RSE

“According to our expert, CSR and HR are intimately intertwined. In fact, CSR covers a much broader dimension than just the environmental aspect; the human pillar, which is often forgotten, is just as important. CSR gives greater meaning and weight to HR missions, and provides an opportunity to transform the company’s strategy so that it has a positive impact, not only internally, but also on society in general.

For our expert, CSR is above all a matter of common sense, especially in SMEs. She recommends starting with small actions, to see the results and engage employees before going any further. The success of a CSR approach cannot be achieved with the involvement of the manager alone. Involving employees, or at least a team, is essential for long-term success.

To sum up

En 3 Questions

  • What's the link between CSR and HR?

    There are many ways in which CSR actions and HR strategy are intertwined. CSR and HR are linked on several levels:

    • Recruitment: integrating ethical criteria, promoting inclusion and diversity…
    • Training: training programs and skills development including sustainability and social responsibility…
    • Talent and career management: egalitarian pay policy…
    • Corporate culture: a CSR approach rooted in the company’s DNA and values, supported by HR.
  • What are the benefits of integrating CSR into HR strategy?

    The benefits of integrating CSR into HR strategy are manifold:

    • Increased attractiveness and talent retention
    • Positive impact on brand image and employer brand
    • Improving employee commitment
    • Better overall company performance
  • How can you integrate CSR into your HR strategy?

    To integrate CSR into your HR strategy, you first need to define objectives in line with your business, then determine monitoring indicators, and finally train managers and all employees in the fundamentals of a CSR approach so that actions are initiated and maintained over time.