Over a number of years, we have seen the traditional, often purely philanthropic business commitments to CSR evolve into a key part of how many organisations do business. This has brought with it more focus from the boardroom and an increasing scrutiny from investors, customers/clients and other stakeholders who are challenging organisations on their approach to ESG or responsible business.
As the CIPD highlighted earlier this week, HR and People teams have a key role in helping businesses to define and deliver their ESG strategy. While, the "E" ("environmental") and "G" ("governance") typically receive the most attention, the "S" ("social") is often not so well understood. This is an area where HR/People leaders play a key role, both through delivering their people agenda internally but also taking it out beyond the workforce into the communities in which their business operates.
As an organisation, we recognise the CIPD's findings and have seen huge value in actively engaging with our people - encouraging and empowering them to make a positive difference in the communities in which they live and work.
For HR leaders wanting to lead on the "S", it is worth considering the CIPD's top tips in the link below.
One message that comes through clearly is that while it is key to harness and support the people in your business, it is also crucial to look outside your organisation and to:
- focus on who you are as an organisation - which communities to focus on and identifying how you can make the biggest positive difference;
- partner with key trusted organisations - both to inform your understanding of the local community needs and to help design and deliver initiatives where specialist knowledge or experience is required; and
- recognise the importance of a strong local community and the role that different organisations play in delivering that. There are some great opportunities to collaborate with clients and businesses in your supply chain, to increase the impact of your community work and to build closer business relationships.
To provide some inspiration to other businesses, the CIPD has published a new series of case studies this week.
While the ‘E’ and ‘G’ of ESG are well understood, with plentiful resources and noise around improving environmental impact and corporate governance, the ‘S’ tends to be overlooked. The people profession can play a key role in righting this. An organisation’s people are an essential part of the 'S' in ESG and the challenges facing boardrooms and leadership teams today require a deep understanding of the people aspects of business.