Thursday, September 30, 2010

CSR for HR Chapter One FREE download

Yep.. the pace is hotting up ... I have now been invited to speak about CSR for HR  at conferences/professional meetings in Washington DC , Singapore and London ...  as well as several requests for articles  in many different publications. Whilst I am not sure I will be able to travel everywhere (travel budget definition: small), I have tentatively committed to one engagement and we will see how we go with the rest. Haha. Not spilling the beans just yet as to which one :). What is more important is that this is a good indication that CSR for HR is an interesting message. Maybe HR is waking up to CSR, after all.

Anyway, the real reason for this post is to tell you that my publisher, Greenleaf Publishing, a leading CSR and sustainability publisher,  for whom I have the greatest  admiration and respect, (they are doing a wonderful job and are so easy to work with) , have now made Chapter 1 of CSR for HR available.

Yes, Chapter One is a free download!

Better do it quick just in case they take it back haha.

Oh and don't forget to "like" the CSR for HR Facebook page . All "likes" will be gratefully received.
(I have promised myself that I can have a self-indulgence session with my favourite ice-cream for every 50 "likes" that CSR for HR gets on FB. OK, make that 10.)

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CSR for HR : Companies profiled

As publication date approaches (31st October 2010, Chunky Monkey Day!) , here is another glimpse into the workd of CSR for HR, the book.

Many companies from around the world are referenced in CSR for HR, including some from whom I received original commentary and contributions about their CSR for HR processes. I am grateful to all these companies and to several individuals who represent them, for making the world a better place, and for providing me with inspiration and education.

Here are  most, I think, of the companies referenced and the context in which they appear:

Adidas:  CSR in the supply chain
ANZ:  Employee Engagement
Aviva:  Employee Well-being
Ben and Jerry's:  Values, Human Rights
Chesapeake Energy Corp:  Remuneration and Benefits
Chevron:  Employee well-being
Cisco: Community activity
Coca Cola: Recruitment
comme il faut: Values, Employee dialogue
Danisco: Recruitment
Danske Bank: Employee Development
Deloitte: Green activities
Deutsche Bank: Community activity
Ebay: Remuneration and Benefits, Employee volunteering
Eileen Fisher : Values, Employee Engagement
Eli Lilly: Employee volunteering
EOG Resources: Remuneration and Benefits
Fedex: Communications
France Telecom: Employee well-being
Gap Inc Values: Supply Chain Recruitment, Employee Dialogue, Human Rights
General Electric: CSR Strategy
General Motors: Employee well-being
Gennentech: Remuneration and Benefits
Glaxo Smith Kline: Recruitment
Google: Remuneration and Benefits
H & M: Employee impacts
Intel: CSR in HR, Remuneration and Benefits, Communications
Interface: CSR Benefits, Cost of CSR
JC Penney: Human Rights
Johnson and Johnson: Employee Well-being
KPMG: Remuneration and Benefits, Community activity
Lafayette Mining Company: Stakeholder Engagement
Levi Strauss: Human Rights
Microsoft: Remuneration and Benefits
Mitre: Remuneration and Benefits
Nike: CSR in the supply chain, Human Rights, Recruitment
Nordstrom: Human Rights
Novartis :Living wage
Optus: Employee volunteering
Procter and Gamble: Employee Well-being, Remuneration and Benefits
Puma: CSR in the supply chain
Royal Dutch Shell: Human Rights
Serco Sodexo Defense Services: Remuneration and Benefits
Starbucks: Stakeholder Engagement, Recruitment
Tata Steel: Remuneration and Benefits
Tate and Lyle: Human Rights
The Body Shop: Values
The Walt Disney Company: Recruitment
Timberland: CSR leadership, Human Rights
Twinings: Recruitment
Unilever: Responsible Marketing, Remuneration and Benefits, Employee volunteering
Vattenfall: Gender
Vodafone: Employee Dialogue
Wal-mart: CSR Purpose, Remuneration and Benefits, Recruitment
Westpac:  CSR and HR strategy and benefits
ZipCar: Communications

Interesting ? I hope so!

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices.  Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Saturday, September 25, 2010

CSR, HR, Ukraine : It all fits together

Would you have guessed that CSR for HR in the Ukraine was all the rage ? Well,  I wouldn't , until  a wonderful email from Maryna Saprykina, Executive Director of the   Centre for CSR Development plopped into my inbox, inviting me to take a look at the outstanding work that has been done and is being done by this forward thinking CSR organization. It plopped, I looked. 

The Centre has embarked on a programme to advance CSR in HR in two stages, in a programme supported by Japan Co. Tobacco Ukraine International  (JTI).   It has been supported by leading CSR and HR people in a range of companies operating in Ukraine. The objective of the programme is to rethink the role of the HR Department in building and implementing a strategy of CSR in Ukraine and providing practical guidance. This is happening in two stages:  

Stage One: a review of current practice (complete)
Stage Two: The production of a Guidance Tool to assist development and implementation (in progress).

The output of Stage One is a very impressive report which reviews the HR role in all of its subfunctions and the interface with CSR. You can download it here. The core of this is a survey in which several local companies and MNE's operating in Ukraine took part including Danone, Ernst and Young, Foxtrot, KPMG, Microsoft, DTEK, Nemiroff, Mary Kay and Metro Cash and Carry.

The report reviews the benefits of CSR to business and the financial ROI of effective CSR-HR management.

Some highlights from the Ukraine-based companies in the survey:

61% of HR Managers surveyed are not involved in the determination of the businesses key stakeholders

71% of HR Managers surveyed are not members of the company's CSR committees

only 22% of HR Managers took part in developing the corporate vision, mission and values statement

only in 28% of companies did HR people take part in the development of the CSR strategy

in 35% of companies the HR people were not involved in the development of a code of conduct

only 44% of companies include CSR issues in their annual planning

A key conclusion from the work done here is that, where the CSR work was progressed with the leadership or active involvement of HR, it was successful. However, the data presented above shows that there is a long way to go before HR people in Ukraine really equal footing when it comes to partnering CSR in the business. This is as much about business leadership as it is about HR, but in the meantime, well, you know, it is time for HR to wake up to CSR!!!

I am looking forward to seeing the next piece of work by the Centre for CSR in Ukraine. I am sure it will be a game changer for business in their country.

 elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Friday, September 24, 2010

What do CSR people really do and how can HR help?

A lot has been written about what it takes to make a good CSR Manager, or CRO, or CSO, or VP CSR, or whatever it is that the CSR leaders in the business prefer to call themselves. An example is  the very interesting study produced by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) based on a survey of 400 sustainability professionals. The study identified two core skill sets, one for hard skills and one for soft skills. There are the softs skills are as follows:

There is not much in this list which  actually which is different from any type of staff manager in any business. Communicating, problem solving, inspiring - these are management fundamentals. This is why the CR Practitioner Competency Map  (Let's call it Le Map, for short) might just add the missing link. This Le Map (haha, sounds good, right?) was developed by the CR Academy, which is a collaborative project led by Business in the Community in the UK.

Anyway, Le Map "has been designed to assist CR & HR practitioners to be more effective. It sets out the typical business outcomes that CR practitioners are working towards and the challenges they face, along with the associated knowledge and behaviours required to be successful. It also suggests learning resources to help users overcome the challenges. CR practitioners, or those wishing to enter the field, can use the competency map to identify their strengths and development needs in relation to their current role and to plan ahead for future roles. The map can also be used to structure roles within CR departments, assist with recruitment and help organisations support CR practitioner development." (I lifted this paragraph from Le Map website - even us bloggers are entitled to take a few shortcuts).

You can navigate the map from two directions. If you are a CSR practitioner, the Le Map developers suggest you might prefer to move straight into activities. If you are a Human Resources professional, Le Map offers you are route to behaviours. Whilst I would hope that everyone would consider both angles, this makes a certain sense.

Let's assume we are a CSR practitioner, ready and willing to race to another fun day on the job, and ready to make ourselves even more effective in our roles. After we turn on the PC, tweet awhile and check Facebook and the latest CSR news from CSRwire and CSR reports from, we log in to Le Map website and, as instructed, download three worksheets: an Activities Priotitization, a Personal Development Plan and a Personal Behaviours Assessment. By this time, we need Chunky Monkey. Thereafter, suitably refreshed, we progress to the Activities Map and select one activity to focus on (yes, we used the Activities Prioritization worksheet). Beginning with the end in mind (Habit 2) , we go straight to Measuring and Reporting. This section identifies four different types of activity (business outcomes) with a drill-down for each, describing the types of action steps required (challenges) and the the knowledge, behaviours necessary and resources for further information.  That's a lot to take in and requires some time to study. This level of detail is provided for each of the 13 Activity Areas of a CSR practitioner. 

Then, we decide to make a quick career change (we heard the perks are great in HR) to become an HR Learning and Development Manager. We reaccess Le Map and browse the 16 behaviours that we expect CSR practitioners in our organization to be competent at displaying. Moving straing to the "communication" behaviour, we can review a list of detailed behavioural statements which define what we can expect from my CSR Practitioner. Le Map developers suggest that every CSR practitioner should demonstrate all of these behaviours to a greater or lesser extent. 

Anyway, we log out as we have to go to a meeting about how to embed a CSR culture in the business. We decide to come back to Le Map a little later. 

OK. Scenario over. This is a tremendous piece of work that the BITC and collaborative team have put together. It provides the basic framework for designing and developing CSR jobs, and assisting CSR people in their roles. It is certainly something I would consider using if I were in one of these positions. As a consultant, I can also help me in assisting my CSR and HR clients to develop themselves and their impact in their organisations. As a standalone, it presents most of the basic competency aspects that I would have expected to see.  For practical use of Le Map  in the business, however, a lot of work would be required to adapt this fairly generic framework to the needs of a specific job, organization type and business sector, as the scope is quite broad. However, it is as good a start point as I have seen.

For the future, I would recommend considering expanding the area relating to stakeholder engagement (of external stakeholders) and adding some elements which are found in most competency tools which relate to different levels of jobs in an organization (a VP level role requires quite different activities from a first line management role) and different focus areas (a generalist CSR Manager will perform different activities and require different behavioural expertise than a CSR Reporting Manager, for example). Also, there is something about a CSR Manager which I find essential and that is the walk the talk element, the demonstration of personal passion and commitment to a more sustainable world, beyond the boundaries of the job description. Le Map doesn't quite capture this. But it's a great framework, nonetheless.

In summary, I recommend all CSR and HR practitioners to talke a look at Le Map (after you have read my book on CSR for HR, of course!)

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Employer Branding : a missed opportunity

Employer branding is increasing in importance, says this article published in HR Review this week. There are nearly three times more HR professionals actively working on employer branding today than there were four years ago. Naturally, it occured to me to do a little research on just how many of these Employer Brands are leveraging the potential of CSR to attract great people for whom sustainability values are important.

My findings are that, whilst Corporate Responsibility is often mentioned in the Careers Section of most corporate websites, persuading potential recruits that the Company is responsible, committed to diversity and adheres to a set of values, they usually miss the point. The point, I believe, is not so much that a potential recruit is looking to join a responsible company, though this is important, but that the potential recruit wants the opportunity to make a difference. The potential recruit want a job that offers meaning beyond the payslip. Something that can be their own little piece of changing the world. New people want more that just to be a part of something that saves the planet, they want to BE something that saves the planet. Few of the Employer Brand messages I have seen are leveraging the full potential of this opportunity to attract the best and most sustainability-oriented people.

The Procter and Gamble career website  focuses on the way P&G hires people who are individualist-type achievers. The Employer Brand is built on the proposition : We hire the PERSON, not the position.  The site showcases 5 superhero individual achievers - a scientist -salsa dancer who works to protect children against abuse, an HR German Paralympic Wheelchair Fencing coach, a Systems Analyst who is a DJ with an "electrified ego" and similar. Wonder-Candidates who make me question how many of P&G's  130,000 employees make this grade or even want to. There is a sustainability section in the P&G careers website,  but I don't see anything which explicitly promises that new recruits will have their chance to do their bit for society and environment.   

Tesco's careers website  prominently displays the corporate commitment to sustainability, with the main focus being  Tesco's impact on communities, combining the elements of sustainability and caring for the local community as strong elements of the corporate identity. However, the focus of Tesco's career communication is "a great place to work".  Why join Tesco ? Be treated with trust and respect, work for a manager that helps you, have an interesting job and an opportunity to get on. Duh. Is that it ? Doesn't sound all that inspiring to me. Seems to me that the sustainability mesage is not truly embedded in this Employer Brand.

Verizon also gives prominent positioning to the Corporate Responsibility programs of the Company as a core part of their careers website. Verizon tell potential employees:  "At Verizon, we believe passionately in using our vast technical, financial and intellectual resources to accomplish something equally significant – making a difference in our communities. Verizon is doing some terrific work to improve people's lives, like expanding accessibility, improving online safety, and providing opportunities for better and faster broadband connectivity. That's just part of our mission to create a great place to work while giving back to the customers we are privileged to serve." This comes a little closer but still misses the mark. It's about the Company, the opportunities it offers as a great place to work and for career building, but it does not emphasize the promise to the individual new hire that s/he will have the opportunity to make a difference. It doesn't seem to me that this Employer Brand communication has truly embedded the CSR approach.

General Electric's career website doesn't offer any additional insight.  Aligned with the corporate branding message and called "GE: Imagination at work", the core proposition in Why GE? is about unparalleled opportunities to build careers and capabilities, extraordinary opportunities and enormous potential, and exciting and dynamic challenges of a lifetime. Wow. So many superlatives in such a short webpage. How about: Working at GE will give you the opportunity to make the world a better place ? Guess that one wasn't sexy enough for the copywriter.

Even Vodafone, one of the CSR-minded companies I most admire, also does not embrace the concepts of sustainability in their Employer Branding communications. Why join Vodafone ? Because you will connect with great people, have the opportunity to develop and express your ideas. Even better, your opinions will be surveyed as part of the Company's recular employee surveys. Hey, that's really something. But not something enough. Not something which embeds sustainability as part of the employer proposition. How about: Join Vodafone and make  your personal footprint count towards a sustainable future ?  (Ok, I am not a copywriter, but do you get the change in the focus of the message ?) 

Now to Intel. "If you are looking to make an impact, Intel is the perfect place...." Sounds promising. The focus is on personal  impact and not only how great the Company is. "At Intel, it's not just what you make, it's what you make possible. Here, you'll be part of developing the better, faster computing platforms the world is waiting for. From innovative processor architectures to state-of-the-art wireless technology, you can have a hand in breakthroughs that have a global impact."  This is closer to what I would be looking for in an Employer Brand that embeds CSR and Sustainability messages, through, even here, there is no direct mention of these terms or concepts. Just adding a few words would make the difference: ... breakthroughs that have a global impact and advance global sustainability... for example.

I have looked briefly at several other careers websites from the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies and add a few more insights here : Baxter International  (the "doing work that matters" tag line gets close, but is not leveraged in the rest of the site) , Diageo  ("celebrate what you do" does refer to advancing responsible drinking programmes, but doesn't really talk sustainability) , L'Oreal careers focuses on passion for the job, but not much about sustainability, Inditex has nothing about sustainability, Nexen is focused on shareholder value and big opportunities, Roche's career site tag-line is "Make your Mark, Improve lives"  which is a nice generic concept, but doesn't really get full treatment once you dig below the surface. I could go on ....but I will spare you for now.

I will round off with the best example I have found which is SAP. Here the core concepts of personal IMPACT and global SUSTAINABILITY are blended together very effectively. Also there is a great employee feed where employees say things like : (Alexandra: "Rode my bike to work, will go home by metro. Am researching icon trends and thinking about ideas for visual trends" and FredericSales (@CarbonImpact)  "Ending Demand Generation Day talking 2 the CIO of a retail co. With 30 stores now, paper & pen is no longer an option for reporting. Agreed.") The SAP employee volunteering program also features as a part of their career proposition. Very nice. Very sensible. Very sustainable.

To sum up, I am not sure who drives the approach to the Employer Brand in most businesses - whether it is an HR role or a Marketing role, or a combination of both. It doesn't seem to me that the Sustainability Officer is doing this. The opportunity to embed and leverage sustainability messages to create a distinctive Employer Brand which is aligned with the rest of the Company's corporate CSR communications, and focuses on the individual opportunity to make a difference is one which most companies are completely missing out on. This is one of the tests of whether the  culture of Corporate Reponsibility is truly embedded at the core, or still seen as a little project you do in addition to doing your business. If you are an HR Manager, my recommendation is STOP! REVIEW NOW your Employer Brand and your careers communications. Start stalking sustainability to the thousands of potential recruits whose desire and ability to change the world can deliver for your business.

It is time for HR to wake up to CSR !

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Story of CSR for HR

Just in case you were wondering (and even if you weren't) what CSR for HR is actually all about, here is a little presentation I put together revealing some, but not all, of the CSR for HR secrets.

It is time for HR to wake up to CSR ! (and CSR to wake up to HR !)

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Saturday, September 4, 2010

GE: Citizenship in Recruiting

I am reading General Electric's Citizenship Report for 2009, in preparation for a review of this report for Ethical Corporation Magazine, and came accross a great attestation to the value of corporate citizenship aka CSR in the Human Resources function.

Hector Aguilar , GE's Mexico Human Resources Leader, says:

Corporate citizenship is a critical aspect for me as a person and professional, and could make the difference in selecting a company to work for. Responsible citizenship shows a company’s commitment to a community. It is a value of sharing and helping people and communities around us. It shows a behavior that I want to see from the company I work for. And it motivates and encourages me to work better and create loyalty and engagement toward GE.

Browse the report to see some of GE's advanced responsible workplace practices. It's worth it.

Clearly, Hector is an HR Manager that has woken up to CSR. Let's help him to spread the word :)

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Friday, September 3, 2010

Aman Singh Das recommends CSR for HR

Aman Singh Das is the Corporate Responsibility Editor at She is a New York University alum and previously wrote for The Wall Street Journal. Her area of work includes corporate diversity practices and sustainability, and how they translate into recruitment and strategic development at Fortune 1000 companies.

Aman is one of the most influential bloggers on CSR today, and is widely read. Her works sits at a very important pinnacle of how future business leaders are created, and how sustainability themes are integrated into attraction, hiring, selection, and all people process within business. He reach covers both corporates who seek forward-thinking , talented people who will add business advantage,  and people who seek challenging, meaningful roles in responsible workplaces.  In her most recent post on Innovation, Diversity and Sustainable Leadership , she makes the case once again for the connection between personal values and professional priorities.  

This is what Aman says about CSR for HR:

"Our professional journey begins the day we go for that first job interview. When the HR professional matches candidates with employers, she is not only contributing to the company’s sustainable growth, she is also directing an individual’s career path. For corporate responsibility to be contextual and effective, it is undeniable then that human resources inculcate this mindset from day one. With this book by Elaine Cohen now, we can finally stop spending hours espousing why CSR must begin with the HR team and just turn to her poignant stories and candid examples for an acute realization: A new corporate consciousness is redefining the way we conduct business, and a company’s HR department must embrace this and lead the change by ensuring that they continue to attract the right talent. Whether you work in HR, talent management, diversity, leadership development, or have any role in business strategy, this book is a must-read!"

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website
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