CSR? What's that?

2004

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) may have become a hot topic in some management circles over the past few years, but for a significant proportion of ordinary employees, it is a complete irrelevance.

Despite the emergence of CSR indices such as the FTSE4Good, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Business in the Community’s Corporate Responsibility Index, a new poll has found that many employees are not even aware what CSR stands for.

An online poll by Monster.co.uk asked British workers what they understood about the concept. Is it really as widely understood as some suggest, or does it still represent just another management acronym that has been mentally filed away along with all the rest?

Asked "what does your company do in the way of corporate social responsibility?", more than a third of the 405 respondents said they had no idea what CSR was. One in three (31 per cent) said that their employer was "not doing a lot" and one in seven (14 per cent) said that they were unsure whether their firm had a CSR initiative.

Only 16 per cent could say with any certainty that their company had an active CSR programme.

Research earlier this year found that high performing businesses show a strong correlation between CSR activities and stronger performance in terms of productivity and profitability than other businesses.

In particular, employees made a greater contribution towards their organisation if they saw it as being a more responsible employer and this in turn influenced their decision to remain with that employer.

CSR advocates said that the Monster results suggest that many companies need to do as much communicating to those inside their business about their CSR efforts as they do with the outside world

"It would seem that more effort needs to go into internally communicating details of any CSR activity a company is carrying out so employees can spread the word and promote the good their company is doing," said Monster's Andrew Wilkinson.

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