Corporate social responsibility is a new buzz phrase that is being bandied about in the media and is beginning to have an impact on business decision-making. However, before anyone starts writing letters to the editor, it would be useful to review exactly what this term actually means and what the benefits are for every company that implements it.
As its name suggests, corporate social responsibility is a strategy that involves ensuring that the corporation acts ethically in line with the expectations of stakeholders such as shareholders, employees and customers. The strategy could also include providing a range of public relations activities such as providing an annual report on the way in which the corporation has undertaken to ensure that its activities comply with the legal requirements of the relevant legislation.
Such practices are aimed at encouraging other corporations to adopt similar practices.
There are a number of different types of activities that are typically involved in this strategy, but in order to really understand the process it is essential to discuss the various aspects of this strategy from a strategic standpoint, as well as from a practical point of view.
The key to corporate responsibility is to establish a corporate code of conduct which sets out both the expectations of both management and employees as well as ensuring that the corporation adheres to the law in line with any applicable regulations. This code should be set out in such a way that it not only defines the rules that govern behaviour within the organisation but also ensures that the rules are regularly enforced by internal and external bodies.
Another element of corporate responsibility is to ensure that there is strong communication between key stakeholders, such as staff and directors, in order to ensure that decisions are made in line with the expectations of both the stakeholders and management. When it comes to this aspect of corporate responsibility, there are a number of different tools that can be used to ensure that this occurs. These include the use of written communications and formal and informal executive training programs, as well as the development of a culture of openness and honesty within the corporation.
The use of a corporate social responsibility strategy board, where a range of different areas of focus can be identified as being important for the corporation, can also provide a valuable platform for discussing the importance of the various issues that face the organisation. By setting up a framework through which the priorities and potential problems facing the organisation can be discussed, the entire board of directors software can then work towards resolving those issues. In addition, by setting out targets and plans that can be achieved, the board can then act as a catalyst for achieving these goals by ensuring that the organisation has a clear direction towards achieving its goals.
The most effective way of ensuring that this strategy gets implemented in the board room is to ensure that the implementation is supported by the right resources and that can provide support to the board in the form of people and processes that can facilitate the implementation of the strategy.
It is vital that every board of directors understands the importance of maintaining a culture of transparency and responsibility when it comes to their company and should encourage staff to openly share information about what they are doing. As a result, the strategy can be used as a way of ensuring that all the major stakeholders within the organisation are working together to achieve the same goals. The strategic planning process can then be used to ensure that the objectives are clearly defined, thereby ensuring that there is a better chance of success for the organisation.