CSR: Culture change takes a concerted effort


Editor’s Note: The below article can be found on the SIA Staffing Stream website here. 

CSR: Culture change takes a concerted effort

By Laura Smith
DISYS, VP of Global HR

In my last post, I introduced the topic of corporate social responsibility, and how effectively implemented initiatives can drive employee and client attraction and retention.

CSR programs require long-term dedication and a concerted effort to achieve lasting success. As implementing these initiatives involves culture change at the organizational level, it is important to start in the right place. Ensure your company is creating an environment that values inclusivity, diversity, and playing a role in the larger community.

Clearly state your goals. Describe what your CSR program seeks to accomplish and how it relates to your company’s overall mission.
Turn values into action. Leadership should place a premium on what is most important to employees to get a sense for the program’s focus and direction.
Keep the focus on the people. Ensure your employee teams at all levels feel personally engaged in the programs. Foster diversity and inclusion in encouraging all ideas and new thinking as initiatives progress.
Combine top-down support and grassroots engagement for maximum success. Show employee teams that your organization’s leadership is as committed to the causes at the core of your CSR programs as they are. Encourage open feedback and discussion, secure buy-in at multiple levels, and combine these efforts to layer onto these initiatives excitement and engagement for your program to grow.
Successful CSR programs are a ‘domino effect.’ At its root, CSR is about encouraging employees to be engaged, responsible citizens. Organizations stand to lose talent and clients if CSR is not made a focus of its mission and culture. Therefore, it’s vital for organizations to incorporate it into their environments and day-to-day operations. Particular elements, such as ethics, internal practices, environmental projects, and volunteerism tend to matter the most to employees as a whole.

My company continues to roll out new programs as we progress on our journey to culture change and industry differentiation. One such program consists of a contest among employees to receive funds to advance missions that mean the most to them, followed by reporting on their success to the organization as a whole. We also recently embarked on a new pilot project in Malacca, Malaysia, as way to give back to world communities and empower the future of youth in technology. In partnership with the Human Life Advancement Foundation (HLAF) the project, known as HLAF-PROATEC (Program for Advancing Technology), is a collaborative endeavor to prepare the next generation of the digital workforce to be future-proof and fluent in digital literacy. Our in the HLAF-PROACTEC project will deepen the development of skilled human capital in STEM-related industries, beginning at the school level to support the education of youth and the opportunity to shape the next generation and prepare them to serve the needs of the digital economy. We have also just introduced Workplace by Facebook to help all our employees better engage, learn new things and share information throughout our organization, including around CSR.

A core value for the staffing industry. As staffing firms, our employee base is characterized by a largely temporary, evolving workforce that is constantly changing. This can bring an added challenge to developing and implementing CSR programs, but also significant opportunities for your organization to differentiate itself amidst a largely commoditized industry.

The truth is, clients love to see firms that actively invest in and engage with initiatives that give back. A central business truth is that people want to work with people they like and feel a shared sense of values with. For staffing firms, CSR helps your organization rise above the herd to achieve lasting business growth. We have often heard client organizations specifically call out CSR, including diversity, inclusion and community service as critical elements when selecting a staffing partner.

Talent and placements evolve over time, but an impactful CSR program is a sustainable way to ensure your organization attracts and retains top talent and clients. The cultural changes and advances in diversity and inclusivity initiatives, as well as the ‘life’ balance CSR enables, are a lasting strategy to achieve positive growth for your company, employee teams, and clients in the future.