Most companies look at CSR projects as a call of arms and only in times of need. However, as mentioned in our previous article, it is important that CSR activities are seen, by corporates, as a way to uplift the communities they operate in. This can be done through both reducing its environmental footprint and by improving the livelihood of its communities more directly. To this end it is important that companies create an environment which encourages employees to take on these challenges.
Here are 4 steps companies can take to create such an environment.
Allocation of funds for CSR activities from each project (P2)
Allocation of funds for CSR activities from each project
Key findings(1) state that Sri Lanka spends over Rs. 4 billion annually on CSR through various avenues. However securing funds for CSR projects continues to remain a challenge.
This can be rectified if there is a clear company policy on the allocation of funds for CSR purposes. One method being, allotting a proportion of the budget from each project undertaken by the company.
This will ensure a consistent flow of money for CSR activities and sustain the social contribution of a project during its design and execution phase.
Take the CSR conversation into the lunch room (P3)
Autonomy of employees to assess projects
Not many Sri Lankan companies have a CSR division which makes it difficult for them to coordinate CSR projects. While it might be too much to ask companies to create an additional non-business related cost center, it is important they give employees the autonomy to look at challenges faced by both their business and the general public.
This is another great way for companies to promote analytical and critical thinking amongst their employees. And is an example of how companies can bundle employee development programs into their CSR efforts.
Flat hierarchical structures help execute CSR Projects more efficiently (P4)
Flat hierarchy to approve projects
In order to respond in a prompt and efficient manner during a crisis, it is important for companies to have a flat hierarchical structure. By the timely addressing of problems while still on the minds of the general public, companies can multiply the goodwill received. Further a flat management structure also helps companies go beyond when responding to a CSR crisis, as they’d be able to overcome contingencies that may occur in the markets they operate in.
Integrating CSR Activities into corporate interests (P5)
Integration of CSR activities within normal operations
Beyond single projects, it is the responsibility of businesses to reduce its negative footprint on the environment and integrate the upliftment of their community into its day to day operations. This can be done by engaging with employees to leverage on their expertise relevant to the issues at hand.
Most companies focus on the number of hires and job opportunities they provide to the communities they operate in. However, for corporates to become socially responsible they must continuously appraise and improve their operations to address the needs of the community.