CSR in the company
CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility, makes it possible to engage employees in a sustainable development approach, both from an environmental and societal point of view. It has many employee benefits for their well-being, and to guarantee their satisfaction in the work they do.
This article describes the concept of CSR, its benefits for the company and employees, as well as how to involve and engage all employees in such a policy.
What is CSR?
The concept of social responsibility is based on the idea that the company is required to put in place a set of measures aimed at respecting the principles of sustainable development. This policy is now widely adopted by a large number of companies, but employees are still unaware of all the employee benefits they can derive from it, and how to commit to it.
With the evolution of CSR, managers now have a broader vision of this concept, which is no longer limited to environmental considerations, but extends to other more unexpected issues.
In the ranking of CSR objectives, it is often the social dimension that is put forward by decision-makers. The well-being of employees in their workplace is indeed considered a priority issue in a voluntary CSR approach.
Other aspects, which were sometimes overlooked, now figure among the considerations taken into account by managers in the context of social responsibility, such as:
- Work ethics.
- The fight against corruption.
- The ecological footprint of the company.
- The health of employees.
- The fight against discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Employees are certainly not the only actors in CSR, nor do they represent the sole beneficiaries. However, this activity is mainly done by and for them.
The development of CSR involves above all the employees themselves, then company management, followed by team managers, customers and finally shareholders.
To succeed in their global CSR strategy, decision-makers must not consider this concept as a constraint, but as a development lever for the company. It is indeed an economic opportunity to position the company well in its competitive environment.
The significant impact generated by the implementation of CSR is pushing more and more decision-makers to go further in this approach, by integrating it completely into the company's commercial strategy, and to go beyond the obligations imposed by the law.
What are the expectations of employees in terms of CSR?
The implementation of a social responsibility policy in a company has many benefits for employees, who generally have high expectations in relation to such an approach. Most employees are indeed reluctant to work for an employer who does not attach importance to environmental or societal commitment. Thus for a large number of people, the choice of the future professional environment is based on the degree of responsibility of the company, almost in the same way as the financial advantages. On the other hand, employees are increasingly seeking voluntary action within the company, within the framework of specific programs.
Employees are undoubtedly the actors most concerned by the societal dimension of CSR policy, and their expectations are all the stronger when the benefits they can derive from them are significant.
Benefits of a CSR approach for employees
The company's commitment to a dedicated societal strategy makes it possible to considerably improve the well-being of its employees, as well as their working conditions. The company is then able to manage social risks, prevent environmental problems, and find effective solutions to the economic or legal difficulties of its commercial activities.
A CSR project, if it is engaged in a voluntary process, allows the company to place employees at the center of its concerns. The responsible company therefore chooses to involve both for the environment and for society, which constitute the two main stakeholders in the professional fabric.
The main strategic issues that can be favored, supported and encouraged within the framework of a CSR policy are:
- The fight against discrimination.
- The integration of employees with disabilities.
- Diversity among team members.
- Gender equality.
- Internal communication and the establishment of an effective dialogue within the company.
- The balance between professional and private life for employees.
- Active listening to employees' concerns.
All these values, when they are shared between decision-makers and employees, encourage the various actors to get involved and invest in their professional environment.
Many innovations have emerged thanks to questions and reflections on issues related to the environment or society. These new methods concern several aspects such as management, the internal organization of the company, the forms of work, or the product itself. Today we are seeing more and more innovative concepts, such as eco-design, eco-packaging or remote work.
On the other hand, employees who choose to engage in their company's CSR actions have more opportunities to have varied experiences, which allow them to gain skills more quickly. These activities are often far removed from the technical skills of the employees and the knowledge required by their original position. They therefore constitute an additional richness which gives the members of the company the opportunity to express other forms of know-how, more personal, while being in a professional setting.
What are the forms of employee engagement in a CSR policy?
Employees have the opportunity to get involved in the societal and environmental approach of their company, in several ways.
Participate in the global CSR policy
Employees can contribute to the construction of the social responsibility strategy, by creating working groups, by organizing thematic seminars, by participating in training on CSR, or by using collaborative work platforms.
Adopt eco-responsible actions
Employees are also called upon to participate in the implementation of a process to reduce the impact on the environment, as part of the company's sustainable development. This translates daily into more eco-responsible reflexes and gestures, such as:
- Minimize travel
- Pay attention to the energy consumption on company premises
- Avoid wasting material resources
- Set up an efficient waste management…
Encouraging the circular economy
In collaboration with the various players in the company, employees can develop a circular economy policy, aimed at giving a second life to devices and equipment that have become obsolete. It is thus possible to provide certain repair programs for old items, or to initiate a reuse process for electronic products.
Develop good IT practices
IT is an important job in most companies, and it often has a significant environmental impact. Employees can then contribute, each at their own level, to reduce these problems by adopting responsible actions. These include, for example, the maintenance of workstations, or the disconnection of unused equipment.
Promote well-being at work
To be more productive, employees must feel comfortable in their work space. For this, they can help create a professional environment conducive to relaxation and discussions between employees.
The places to exchange and decompress, such as coffee break places, play areas or canteens can be more user-friendly, in order to improve the atmosphere at work. Organizing events between colleagues such as team-buildings or evenings is also an excellent way to promote cohesion between teams.
Put yourself in favorable working conditions
Working conditions tailored to each person's personality and taste can help improve well-being and productivity. This involves simple elements such as decorating offices with natural depolluting plants, or providing maximum light in the premises.
Hours and organization of work are also aspects to be taken into account in the context of improving working conditions. Some employees may therefore prefer to work remotely, if their activity allows, and in agreement with their employers. This solution is generally considered for certain employees who have travel difficulties, or family constraints preventing them from physically presenting themselves at their workplace. Teleworking ensures better management of the balance between professional and family life.
Other simple solutions can be implemented to make work more pleasant on a daily basis, and to promote the development of employees. Some companies encourage and facilitate, for example, carpooling among colleagues or provide collective transport solutions.