A CSR Checklist that Works for Every HR Department

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A CSR Checklist that Works for Every HR Department

Coro Strandberg of Strandberg Consulting is well-known and well-respected throughout Canada as a thought leader in sustainable business practices. One of Coro's more widely disseminated publications is her 2009 report developed for Industry Canada about the Role of HR Management in CSR [PDF]. The report came with a 10-point checklist and served as a how-to guide for HR professionals to use to create a comprehensive sustainability program; it covers everything from integrating CSR and sustainability into recruitment practices to measurement and reporting.

A Revised Checklist for 2011

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Coro and asking her if, three years later, there are any elements she would add to the report or areas within it that today require a greater emphasis to bring it even more up-to-date.

CSR is a continually evolving field. More and more companies are seeking to embed their CSR in how they do business on a day-to-day basis. This leads to new opportunities for HR managers to play a leadership role in their organizations.


Were Coro creating this checklist today, she would put further emphasis on the role of sustainability in competency models. Competency models are currently a very hot topic within HR (see my previous article on the topic here), and businesses currently rethinking them have an excellent opportunity to add a sustainability element into their general framework.

Competencies are a key talent management tool as they shape the behavioral expectations that drive performance amongst organizational leaders. Coro says, "The opportunity is to ensure that the company competencies include behavioral expectations that address "sustainability" capacity, such as holistic and long-term thinking, change leadership, and collaboration and influencing."

Codes of Conduct

An area that requires even far more attention nowadays is the importance of employee codes of conduct. While most any business maintains a code of conduct, there is still wide spectrum as to how they are written; while many codes of conduct have become more values-based, others remain simply legalistic.

By keeping their code of conduct strictly legalistic, a business is failing to capitalize on a tool that might otherwise help to powerfully shape their corporate culture.

Celebrating Employees

Another topic that has increased in relevance since Coro's release of the checklist is Employee Engagement. There is a far greater variety of tools available and in use today to measure Employee Engagement than there were in 2009 -- such as new metrics and surveys.

Coro is currently working to develop new means of measuring employee perception of company CSR efforts. One surefire way to increase employment engagement -- and one that can be implemented immediately -- is to throw a party.

While plenty of companies today are adept at communicating their CSR, few are taking the time to celebrate it. A further emphasis today should be placed on celebration. When sustainability milestones are met, organizations need to commemorate reaching them.

Celebrating an achievement in sustainability should be given just as much emphasis and instill just as much pride as meeting any quarterly financial goal. By celebrating advancements in sustainability and CSR, organizations will boost employee morale and create a corporate culture where social and environmental victories are valued at the same level as any other business achievement.

Encouraging Note

What checklist would your Human Resources department develop? This checklist has been used as a tool to frame the discussion. Perhaps it could be helpful for you as well.