Internalizing CSR: Initiatives of HRM



The role of HR function in embedding the CSR values in the corporate culture is immense and has been underlined also. An organization can exhibit a better image in the minds of people by presenting itself as an excellent employer which cares for its people and involves them in the ambit of social responsibility. This involvement of employees indicates the strategic importance of HRM in the CSR initiatives of an organization. Human Resource policies, forming the framework for the culture in the business management, create awareness towards the need to achieve the business goals in the best possible and ethical manner (Agrawal, 2007). With the help of HR functions, the socially responsible values can be inculcated and sustained in the organizational culture through the following ways:

  • The HR department should take the responsibility to develop a formal policy on sustainable practices involving employees. British gas, for example, used employee volunteering as a vehicle to achieve business-driven culture. The success of the initiative led to the development of a formal policy on employee volunteering. The company developed the ‘Cardiff Cares’ volunteering initiative with the purpose of encouraging employees to raise funds and donate some of their time to the local community (Redington, 2005). Employee fundraising was a way to show support for the local community, to build positive team spirit in the organization and to create a ‘winning’ environment at the workplace. The managing director and the HR team’s strong commitment enabled the initiative to be a big success improving the employee retention levels and employee satisfaction.
  • The orientation programme of newly recruited candidates should be designed in a manner that corporate philosophy about CSR gets highlighted. The commitment of top management towards CSR is very important which should be expressed in tangible terms to reinforce the right kind of behavior in the organization. Wipro, for example, inculcates CSR values amongst its workforce right at the beginning during the induction process (http://www.developednation.org/interviews). Corporate presentations, keeping employees updated through mails, regular newsletters are the instruments used to keep employees energized about the organization’s socially responsible initiatives.
  • The designing of Performance Management System should be done in such a manner that it measures the socially responsible initiatives taken by employees.
    This becomes important as the internalization of CSR in an organizational culture requires that appropriate behaviors get appraised, appreciated as well as rewarded. Otherwise, the organization might fail to inculcate it amongst all employees due to lack of positive reinforcement.
  • The Training facilities may also be  made available to instill the CSR culture among employees. This becomes necessary to make employees learn and practice CSR activities. The training of employees through “CSR Living Our Values Learning Tool” at Cadbury Schweppes (Young, 2006), the major global beverage and confectionary organization, has been a good example of partnership between HR and CSR. The company has also included social responsibility in the latest management development initiatives like the global “Passion for People” management skills programme.
  • Empowerment of managers by giving  them decision-making authority shall help in executing social responsibility at local level. It becomes important when an organization with plants or units at multiple locations around the world operate. Armed with decision making authority, the managers will be able to appreciate and assess the needs. Therefore, the employees may be appropriately authorized to encourage initiative in the area of social responsibility. Clear reporting and review mechanisms may be put in place in the organization which shall improve the focus and effectiveness of CSR (Mehta, 2003) .
  • Code of ethics of an organization  can stimulate social responsibility to a great extent reinforcing amongst its employees the underlying values. Training on code of ethics should be undertaken by the organization. Best Buy, a fortune 100 company and the largest specialty retailer of consumer electronics in the United States and Canada, has initiated ethics training for its employees. Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has a global CSR strategy which is well supported by HR function and the employees (Redington, 2005). The HR department of the company has also developed an e-learning course for its employees built around the Department of Trade and Industry, CSR Competency framework.
  • Responsible Human Resource Management practices on equal opportunities, diversity management, whistle blowing, redundancy, human rights, harrasment shall give credibility to the CSR initiatives of the organization. It is beyond doubt that protecting human rights such as denial or prevention of legal or social rights of workers is a very important issue under CSR. Companies like Wipro, Infosys, Dabur, and ICICI have even framed whistle blowing policy, providing protection to the employees who come to know about any unethical practice going on within the organization, covering a whole gamut of subjects and showing their positive approach towards unethical practices.

Facts [+]


The National Whistleblower Center was established in US,1988 to improve environmental protection, nuclear safety, and government and corporate accountability. Its primary goal is to ensure that disclosures about government or industry actions that violate the law or harm the environment are fully heard, and that the people who risk their careers to expose wrongdoing are defended.


  • The separation of employees during  mergers, acquisitions, downsizing etc. should be strategically aligned with the business strategy as well as Corporate Social responsibility. Retraining, retention, redeployment of people can be worked out with aggressive communication, information campaigns and outplacement services in place to assist the transition of people from the organization. Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), for example, provided outplacement services to the employees of its foods division at Bangalore when they were unable to move to Mumbai in 2006. Over 60 firms and 25 placement agencies were contacted by the company to arrange for multiple job interviews for a number of employees (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow)
  • Social Reports or Sustainability Reports  should be prepared to underline the organization’s commitment to social or sustainable practices. In India, the top management, in their messages, speeches to shareholders and in annual reports has been resorting to social reporting but it should be made more formal in nature (Bhatia, 2005 & Raman, 2006). Tata Steel Limited, for example, has been preparing Sustainability Reports under the stringent guidelines of Global Reporting Initiatives, 2002 on economic, environment and social performance (http://www.tatasteel.com/corporatesustainability).
  • The Human Resource department should  effectively measure and evaluate CSR activities. The value added by CSR in the form of direct results, such as, economic savings and indirect results like increase in employee satisfaction, less employee turnover, measured by staff attitude surveys, shall indicate contribution to improved business performance. There is also a need to conduct periodic review of the CSR activities. CurAlea Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd.