It is now two years since the Indian government passed the CSR 2% spend legislation, the first country to mandate spending for corporate social responsibility. Most companies are reflecting on the impact of their CSR commitment as they audit, refine and improve their interventions. While there are discussions on the impact this law has made trends indicate opportunities that practitioners and leaders can tap to make the most of their CSR strategies.
- Rise of the employee advocate and activist
Customers are known to relate with brands that do credible charitable work. It is no different with employees who join and advocate brands that are socially conscious. Indian employees are said to give the most regard to an organization’s behavior with society. With increased visibility on CSR work done by organizations employees often identify with causes and lead initiatives that matter beyond their firm’s purview. Organizations need to encourage employees to be their own selves and actively pursue their interests that serve the communities around.
- Opportunities in inter-organizational collaboration
Although there are reports of underspending and uncertainty about the guidelines there are opportunities for organizations to collaborate with each other and make a larger impact outside just their immediate neighborhood. With organizations facing similar challenges on the ground and broadly investing in similar areas joining hands for the common good is going to pick up steam.
- Focus on measurement and engagement
The call to gauge impact of CSR continues to increase. With the legislation the case for change is now even stronger. Organizations will weigh human impact value vs long term societal improvements as they craft their measurement metrics. Likewise, organizations will consider measures to gauge the effectiveness of CSR initiatives and related branding.
- Increase in accountability and rigor
As CSR becomes more strategic in nature organizations will continue to be more transparent in their processes and interventions. The necessity for companies to report CSR work and spend will rise and practitioners will be expected to be equipped with different skills that improve engagement with stakeholders and be more accountable for actions they take.
- Need for CSR specialists
With multiple courses on offer to groom the future CSR leader organizations will revisit how they hire specialists for the role. Over the years people who manage CSR has seen their roles increase in scope and scale. The specialist will need to think strategically about the domain, build relationships and tell stories of change. There will be focus and attention to train employees to be better volunteers of change, a responsibility that the CSR specialist will own.
Have a point of view? Keen to hear what you think.