Do we really care about how companies treat their employees? How they engage with local communities, and how ethical they are? Does it make a difference when we consider buying their product or working for them?
The original title of this article is "Too Many Feelings and Not Enough Facts in CSR Strategy". CSR means Corporate Social Responsibility. The post is by Bruce Rogers from Forbes and he discusses a major shift that is happening between consumers and businesses: consumers will buy if the company walks its talk regarding:
- Citizenship (supports good causes and protects the environment, for example).
- Governance (is responsibly run that behaves ethically and is open and transparent in its business dealings)
- Workplace (is an appealing place to work who treats its employees well)
These are 3 new and important story types businesses must focus on telling. I say 'new' because they are laying dormant and are not widely recognized for their huge significance. In truth, each story type contains multiple stories you can tell -- one story for each type is usually insufficient.
In the article Rogers shares his interview with Kasper Ulf Nielsen, Executive Partner at Reputation Institute and CB Bhattacharya, E.ON Chair Professor in Corporate Responsibility at European School of Management and Technology. They discuss the results of a new published study on the topic (with a link for more data).
I love this point that is shared: ..."56-61% consumers across the 15 largest markets in the world are neutral or not sure if the companies can be trusted to deliver on CSR dimensions: Citizenship, Governance, and Workplace. The reason for that is two fold: (1) companies have not communicated about the things they do in a relevant and clear way, and (2) they are doing many programs, which are not relevant to their stakeholders,” says Kasper Nielsen. Holy Cow!!
The reason? “The problem lies in the lack of strategic integration. The biggest challenge is to integrate CSR practices into the strategy of the companies and not treat it as an add-on. Currently most CSR professionals are housed in communications and PR departments, but CSR can and should infiltrate every department – from supply chain, procurement, innovation, manufacturing, HR, all the way to disposal. To accomplish this, CSR officers need to have their voice heard, particularly in the C-suite and the Board, so that the corporate culture and focus shifts from the single to the triple bottom line. The 2013 CSR RepTrak® study has documented the business case for companies to be socially responsible. Companies must now realize that creating social value is a prerequisite to creating business value,” says CB Bhattacharya.
- Make CSR part of your core business activities, not a department shuffled off to the side
- Craft and share the 3 kinds of stories
What action steps to take?
There are several listed in the article. And the study is well worth reading also for more data and findings. You will be able to come up with a list of specific action steps that fit your organization.
If you really want your business or enterprise to take off, pay attention to what is happening here. And start working on building these stories to share based on the concrete actions your business takes on Citizenship, Governance, and the Workplace.
This review was written by Karen Dietz for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it