Home' HR Monthly : February 2018 Contents 6
In my last article I looked at key characteristics of inclusive
leadership. The test of credibility for those ideas depends on
actual practices that workers see in the workplace.
Let's start with an examination of successful leadership for
corporate and social responsibility (CSR), one of the most
elusive areas for HR and business leaders to address. Research
done by AHRI, and also our sister international bodies such as
the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the
US, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
(CIPD) in the UK, show that modern employees are attracted to
work with employers who take stands and deliver practices that
represent responsible modern community values and norms.
The recent case of Qantas taking a positive public stand on the
equality marriage initiative is a case in point.
At the 2017 AHRI awards, the finalists for CSR leadership
all had a strong values statement as part of their
corporate mission to be a responsible, sustainable and
Each organisation had a clear stakeholder and employee
strategy. Specific CSR goals, programs and initiatives evolved
from the grassroots. Ideas coming from the solitary inspiration
of the corporate suite seldom work. An openness to drop or
amend initial thoughts is also a strong characteristic within the
work of the best practitioners, as well as the adoption of new
ideas produced from consultation.
Another characteristic is that the CEO and the executive
team were role models and actively participated in the drive
for stakeholder and employee engagement, through attending
community forums, going to town hall meetings, joining in
employee discussion groups and the like. Some early initiatives
were also trialled with a close monitoring of feedback from
staff, stakeholders and target groups.
In reviewing these track records, I was reminded of Dave
Ulrich's advice to us all at his masterclass during the 2017
AHRI National Convention event series that we should:
• Think Big
• Trial Small
• Fail Fast
• Learn Always
Ulrich has just been admitted to the world 'Thinkers 50' Hall
of Fame, and advice like this tells us why. Applying these four
principles to a wide range of HR initiatives makes great sense,
especially to a concept such as CSR.
It is a commonality that successful CSR initiatives require
strong partnerships, such as linking with an NGO with
Financial resources alone are unlikely to deliver success.
If money is all that's made available for delivery of a CSR
program, there is a risk that employees and the community
will see this work cynically as just a 'tick box' commitment.
CSR programs do need resourcing, but linking that to specific
initiatives that are well researched and costed is more likely to
achieve success. Further, using a company's resources to match
fundraising by employees can produce the best responses.
Finally, one of the most important success factors is how
media and communications are used. With CSR programs, the
customers in your workplace and community love to see the
stories of achievement through the experiences of real people,
and preferably ones they know. Innovative use of social media
can be a powerful weapon in demonstrating your commitment
to being CSR responsible.
A compelling example of many of these principles came
from one 2017 finalist, Defence Bank Limited, which had
an innovative initiative called Defence Community Dogs.
This program trained dogs, which had returned from
active service on the frontlines of war, to be companion
dogs for returning veteran soldiers who were suffering
from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The program
touched 200 returning veterans and involved the support
of over 100 businesses and individuals.
Defence Community Dogs has been celebrated as a great
success and brought it leverage for the Defence Bank
far beyond its investment. It tackled a major
challenge in its own community, with an
enlightened program for returning service men
and women suffering PTSD, not to mention
man/woman's best friend. •••
Bite as well as bark
AHRI award nominees showed how to get corporate social responsibility right.
BY PETER WILSON AM FCPHR AHRI CHAIRMAN
To read past Perspective columns by Peter
Wilson, visit hrmonline.com.au
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