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
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.
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.