Google, Campbell Soup and Johnson & Johnson are the three most socially responsible companies in the United States, according to research from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and Reputation Institute. Interestingly, the companies that invest more in corporate social responsibility (CSR) get a much higher level of support than other companies, as almost 66 percent of the U.S. public would recommend the top 20 socially responsible companies, and only 26 percent would recommend the bottom 20 companies. The implication is that organizations that invest in social responsibility have a better reputation than other companies, and that inevitably impacts the bottom line.!@!
When I think of CSR I typically think of an organization’s carbon footprint or its community outreach, but in the eyes of customers, it’s this and so much more. A company’s reputation, according to the research, is influenced by leadership, performance, product/services, innovation, workplace, governance and citizenship. And some of the questions include: How do stakeholders perceive the leaders and management competencies of the company (leadership)? Is the company perceived as innovative and skilled to meet market changes (innovation)? And does the company invest in developing employee skill sets and career opportunities (workplace)?
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but to me, these ideas seem to revolve around learning and development. If your leaders are not competent with a clear vision, your company is perceived poorly. If your organization doesn’t breed innovation, you have no new products and no new growth. And if your employees aren’t being developed, your reputation falters. CSR and learning are inextricably linked, and so the learning department should be one of the cheerleaders pushing the organization to commit to social responsibility both internally and externally.
How is the learning department involved in your organization’s CSR investments? Do you see a direct link between the two? And if your learning organization is not involved in CSR, why not?