Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CSR HR and SME's

The brilliant Julie Urlaub of Taiga Company (  @TaigaCompany ) tweeted this link to People Practices ROI of the Top Small Company Workplaces. I took a look at some of the  practices.

Daphne Utilities with 66 employees: underwent a transformation process to create a "business enterprise guided by principles of accountability, transparency and empowerment."

A Yard and a Half Company with 18 employees:  on-site English classes for those among its workforce that don't speak English as their first language.

Dealer.com with 271 employees: employee development with job rotation and internal mentoring.

Tasty Catering with 84 employees: complimentary daily meals provide a time for people to meet and talk, while weekly bi-lingual newsletters include discussion of business performance and activities.

Maya Design with 42 employees: turning supplemental teaching work at local universities into a paid benefit and providing financial support to those among its workforce of 42 who create viable plans for new, complementary companies.

The Sky Factory with 34 employees:  leadership runs the firm entirely by consensus, involving all 34 employees in all major decisions. Also, The Sky Factory offers all of its educational programs – on topics including financial literacy, architecture and business writing – in-house.

These are some examples which caught my eye as being representative of a csr mindset - practices which go beyond legal requirements to ensure inclusion, participation, stakeholder engagement of the workforce, and in some cases, attention to issues relating to sustainability, community contribution or empowerment of individuals. It seems that even small companies can adopt such practices and, in doing so, derive benefits in terms of better business, as the Winning Workplaces site confirms. Many of these Companies may not have a Human Resources function, but are running the business in a way which makes sense to them, based on the values and enlightened approach of the leadership. In fact, CSR with regard to people practices may well be about survival rather than just a strategy for better business, though they might not define it as such.

I find this fascinating for 2 reasons:
First, that the development of CSR in SME's still has a long way to go, and yet, these outstanding examples shows that it pays off.
Second, that there is something to be learnt here in larger businesses. A csr-hr approach to people, with more of a personal consideration of people's needs, rather than a human resources process mindset, which tries to formalize and standardize, might be a clue.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via www.twitter.com/elainecohen  on Twitter or via my website www.b-yond.biz/en

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