Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, what for?

For a lot of companies, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development remain relatively vague concepts. They speak about it, they think of it, but they are very few to set up a true strategy.

Much wonders which can be their interest to take a turn towards a responsible and durable company.

For money

A recent study published by YouGov and Barclays brings a new element in response: it brings in money.

This study raises that, according to 57% of the companies, the key to encourage business to invest more in the durability matters lives in subsidies and a tax exemption. What to make of this report? One can regret that this result put forward the sempiternal request for financial advantages. But the fact remains it is time of (re)thinking business, by taking into consideration the current stakes of our society. And thus, to set up mechanisms which would incite the business world to take the path of CSR.

For employee retention (and then, for money too)

Moreover, 78% of the employees affirm it: the CSR is an important part of the life of the company.

And the figures also illustrate the effect CSR initiatives have on employee retention. A total of 67% of employed UAE residents interviewed say they are more likely to continue working for companies that allow them to volunteer more during working hours.

For investor confidence (and then, for money too)

The investors are not outdone: 83% of them wish to invest in socially responsible projects. Over the last two years, SRI investing has grown by more than 22% to $3.74 trillion in total managed assets, suggesting that investors are investing with their heart, as well as their head. In fact, about $1 of every $9 under professional management in the U.S. can be classified as an SRI investment.

For values – with a little assistance – and reputation (and then, for money too)

In any case, a CSR implication is, above all, the reflection of the values of the entrepreneur. In particular in SME. Indeed, the size and the branch elements to be considered. And it appears that assistances at the regional level can encourage the structures to be implied; but this, in a precise field.

Besides, the environment is often the front door as regards CSR. Many companies start with waste management and the fight against the wasting. Whatever the size of their company, the leaders – even if they are not converted to humanism – are increasingly sensitive to the strategic issues and operational which their implication CSR represents.

Their reputation is at stake.

New research released by YouGov shows that organizations in the UK are discovering multiple benefits from the trend of focusing on reputation.

A new European consensus for the development was signed in 2017. The CSR is presented there like one of the best tools for the installation of a new economic paradigm. The platform of commitment CSR and sustainable development presents the ranking of the most advanced countries in this field via a study completed by Institute RESPECO (attached to Word Forum) for a Responsible Economy:

  1. Sweden
  2. Finland
  3. Norway
  4. Denmark
  5. Iceland
  6. Switzerland
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Belgium
  10. Slovenia

We can see that CSR is especially present in Europe. The first non-European country can be found in the 24th place (Australia).

To consider half of the world (and then, for money too)

As a French woman, I could be delighted by this «good performance”. But we are many to notice how much the way to go is still long. In particular as regards equality man-women…

In the 100 larger European companies, the executive committees are still composed of 89% of men. However, we all know what the benefits of co-education are from now on. On the basis of this report, the Observatory of co-education (OMix) (think tank of the Institute of the responsible capitalism, l’Institut du capitalisme responsable,) sponsored by the chief executive officer of Sodexo Michel Landel, have worked on the subject. Seven large companies -Crossroads, Crédit Mutuel, Arkéa, Engie, Legrand, Sanofi, Sodexo and Suez – have cogitated with 17 to put forward six measures.

And we need at least six of them because women continue to be vastly underrepresented at every level. For women of color, it’s even worse. Only about one in five senior leaders is a woman, and one in twenty-five is a woman of color.

Progress isn’t just slow—it’s stalled. And we know why.

And it’s a pity because mixing in the boards improves performance: companies perform better when they have at least one female executive on the board, a study of companies in the UK, US and India shows.

To conclude, let us hand over to Viviane de Beaufort (French professor at the Law and Environment department at ESSEC and founder of Women ESSECEXEC Programs): “France cannot do without half of its talents (cf the number of graduate women). Lastly, as much my work as testimonies of large leaders attest that women fist-time trained, qualified, duly selected discuss the strategy, the risks, the governance, the model with a new eye”.

Come on guys: be courageous, commit yourselves in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development! Risks are low: it is proved that you will only be more efficient!

Click here to view Michele’s Short Bio

HR: useless people and pain in your neck? Prompt the change!

In your company, HR people are (almost) useless!

It is true! HR are a cost center: you have to pay the members of the team and to allocate them offices and equipment.

HR are a pain in your neck!

There too, it is true! HR think of applying the law and the best practice and they ask you to fill in dozens of formal documents. The survey named “Radioscopie of HR” led in 2016 by Cegos, the international leader in training, underlines the growing weight of the administrative and law constraints.

HR, one doesn’t know what that is used for!

Again, it is completely true! The survey confirms that the HR profile holds the most uncomfortable position within the steering committee.

And you certainly do agree with a famous survey led in 2015 by ADP, leader in the outsourcing of HR processes: only 24% of the employees are “extremely or very satisfied” with the HR function in their company.

Then, well: prompt the change!

Recruit an HR Director and, while requiring of him a strong participation within the steering committee, check thathe/she has phobia of HR offices.

From then, it is easy! Establish a “live my life” program and make sure he will be invited to the business meetings.That done, ask him to use a problem-solving methodology: no receipts, not easy solutions, no magic wand. Instead, get into the habit of co-designing with him what the problem is, defining objectives, listing the solutions you have tried to implement in vain. Thus, you will be able to co-create relevant and durable HR solutions for your company.

Yes, make your RH the guarantor of legal and good practices. But do more: make him the solid support of yourbusiness.

And you will see: he will re-examine the HR processes from a customer point of view, he will see mandatory agreements as many opportunities to create managerial tools, he will be an ambassador of your company when facing candidates, he effectively will represent you with the staff representatives, the trade unions and the labour authorities.

Naturally, it will be a little painful. The HR Director will want to understand the business and he will ask all kinds ofstupid questions. He will require to be part of some meetings. He will analyze the figures in his way. And, more than that, he will make funny and contradictory suggestions and will propose kinky action plans. But don’t panic: he won’t take any offense if you don’t adopt them.

In short, he will really sit at your strategic steering committee, considering the business requirements and the stakes of the field. His belief: performance and corporate social responsibility. His behavior: both humble and charismatic.

Your RH will then be your true partner. And he will have the satisfaction to really take part in the creation of added value and performance within your company. He will experiment the joy of not being seen more like a pure cost center or a necessary evil.

Backstage, he will be obliged to make the splits between operational and legal requirements which he must implement as best as possible not to disturb the operations.

Please note that this kind of positioning is much more exposed and difficult to hold than the “hidden in my office” one. It will then be your job to support your HR director. And thus, to give the lie to the Cegos inquiry: the roadmap of your HR will be a little less fuzzy, a little less contradictory.

Your HR is there to support you! Count on him! Let him be at your side and let him “stick his nose in everything”. Please do not confine him within the space of his office. He will support you even if he doesn’t understand you all the time and even when he slightly disagrees.

Dear leaders, by recruiting an HR Business Partner, you’ll recruit your loyal and useful fellow worker.

Don’t hesitate!


Click here to view Michele’s Short Bio