Friday, March 11, 2011

CSRI reviews CSR for HR

For those of you who don't know, (CSRI)  (Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility) hub founded by Wayne Visser, whose new book, the Age of Responsibility is just hitting the shelves,  publishes monthly reviews of a wide range of CSR books. Occasionally, I also contribute reviews from my CSR books blog. I was delighted and flattered to have my book, CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices included in the CSRI February Book Review digest. Registered (it's free) users can download  the monthly digests, and the February on in which the CSR for HR review is featured can be downloaded here.

The review was written by Matthew Maguire and goes like this:

"In CSR for HR: A Necessary Partnership for Advancing Responsible Business Practices, Elaine Cohen takes a ground-up approach to CSR that focuses on corporate engagement with individual employees. As Cohen says, “This book is both a wake-up call for the human resources (HR) profession and a tool-kit written to help members of that profession to act.” Cohen develops a concept she calls corporate social human resources (CSHR) that redirects traditional HR responsibilities such as organisational development, recruitment, training and compensation toward CSR goals and practices.

To build her case, Cohen tells the story of Sharon, a fictitious HR manager from a medium-sized firm, who, over the course of the book, transforms herself from a CSR novice to a powerful CSR advocate within her company. The narrative approach may be distracting for some readers, but it makes the material accessible for those new to CSR. The book is about more than what HR can (and must) do for CSR, however. It is also about how managers and employees learn about CSR and begin to change their behaviour, as well as the contribution that each employee makes toward a company's overall social and environmental impact. Unlike many CSR books out there, CSR for HR is not preaching to the choir. It is intended primarily for HR managers who may have heard of CSR but don't really know what it means in practice, or how it relates to the job they currently have. Elaine Cohen, currently co-founder and managing consultant of Beyond Business Ltd., has more than 25 years of experience in executive positions at various global companies, including 8 years as an HR executive at Unilever. As a result, she offers a unique insider-perspective that breaks CSR down into real terms.

Through her narrative, Cohen shows HR managers how to engage employees, develop corporate culture, and communicate progress through CSR reporting. The story is informative as well as inspiring. As Cohen tells us, “Sharon realizes she doesn't need to sit around and wait for her CEO or executive team to develop a comprehensive CSR strategy for the HR function.” HR managers interact with employees (a key stakeholder group) in innumerable ways. CSR strategy can come from the top down, but for it to really stick, the employees need to be ready for it. Cohen's book gives HR managers the information and confidence needed to open their companies up to the opportunities that can come from CSR. "

Thank you to CSRI and to Matthew Maguire for a great review !! It is time for HR to wake up to CSR!

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

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