Is CSR repositioning itself in the Boardroom?

It has been very rewarding over the last 10 years to see CSR increasingly distance itself from the nice to do heading in business operations. In part driven by the challenging economic backdrop and the need to achieve more with less, CSR is playing an ever-increasing role in delivering the business basics; efficient cost control, competitive edge and people development.

However, in many businesses it is now at the forefront of a business evolution. Sustainable solutions are being driven by proactive CSR agendas addressing energy use, transport models, use of new technologies, product development, sustainable procurement, supply chain partnerships, innovative partnerships with the community and not for profit sector. The list is endless.

This repositioning of CSR in the boardroom is long overdue and should be welcomed wholeheartedly. The era of “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” has, like the companies who operated to its mantra, long since disappeared. A CEO well known to Collins McHugh is often heard to say “if you’re complacent you’re dead”. Not only that but your people and your customers are probably bored. People who are bored move on.

Why not sense check your organisation? Simply asking yourself the following questions would be a good place to start:

  1. What is fresh or new in our product or service offering? What have we given our customers and clients recently that added value but was not directly requested by them?
  2. When was the last time I was asked how I feel, what I think about the way we do things, or just if I have any ideas I would like to share?
  3. How efficiently are we operating, do people care about our impact on the environment, in the community, do we deal with complaints well and make subsequent changes where they are required?
  4. Do we work in partnership with our suppliers, championing innovation and rewarding it, looking at collaborative win/win activity?
  5. How transparent are we about what it is we all get out of bed for, our vision, where we want to be in 5 years time and how we are going to get there?

If you don’t struggle on any of these then whatever you are doing, just keep doing it! If you are ok answering two or three, that’s not bad, but, if you struggle on them all, speak to your manager, director or the CEO and get CSR moved up your boardroom agenda…. ….quickly!