Sunday, 16 October 2011

Jim Annis: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) elevates people, planet and profit | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com

There is a workplace leadership paradigm shift occurring which will change the face of business as we know it.

We are moving from the old notion of "command and control" toward a new value-based leadership and mentor-centered leadership. The impact on business is profound -- personality, style, and values matter. The philosophy that embodies this shift is called many things: conscious capitalism, corporate citizenship, sustainable responsible business, and Corporate Social Responsibility.

All describe an evolving, "more complete" capitalism that holds the potential for increasing corporate performance while simultaneously improving the quality for life for billions of people. Companies can be true to their core business while focusing on the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

Human resources professionals are particularly interested in CSR as a recruitment and retention tool. Companies express corporate citizenship through waste and pollution reduction, contributing to educational and social programs, and earning adequate returns on the employed resources.

These types of activities are important to Gen Y, our next leadership generation. According to the Harvard Business Review, "As the economy recovers "» companies will return to the challenge of winning over enough highly capable professionals to drive renewal and growth."

Gen Y's say it's important that their work makes a positive impact on the world, profess to be very ambitious, and are comfortable working with people of different ethnicity and culture. A company with CSR specifically intertwined into a its business strategy and reflected in its culture has the potential to win over a star Gen Y candidate sitting on the fence.

A growing body of research demonstrates why CSR is good for business. A new study by the Center for Work-Life Policy gives further evidence that purposefully designed corporate social responsibility programs will advance the interests of businesses as well as communities.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index shows that, in general, companies that embraced CSR tended to fare better during the current economic crisis than those that have yet to incorporate CSR into their business philosophy.

The Huffington Post says one of the 5 Things Business Leaders Must Do in 2011, is "Realize that corporate responsibility and sustainability aren't departments."

Zappos, Whole Foods, and Google are just a few brands that have leveraged CSR to their advantage. The Applied Companies has always incorporated our core value -- "do the right thing" into our company culture, including CSR, as it enhances our performance and participation in our community.

How will you model the way and succeed through values and mentoring your company's future leaders?

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today's workplace. Applied's division managers, Celeste Peterson, Angela Atchley and Tom Miller, contributed to this article.

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