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Corporate Responsibility's Impact on Talent Management Considering the penalties to pocket and reputation related to a lack of corporate responsibility,

the impact on talent management is increasingly visible as more corporations examine the value in this practice. The Conference Board reports that two-thirds of surveyed corporations feel corporate citizenship and sustainability issues are of growing importance for their businesses. This likely is because corporate responsibilitys biggest impact hits businesses at their core. A trend is solidifying, and organizations now are executing corporate responsibility as a piece of their business strategy. The once rare, even faddish practice is taking its place beside more established human capital management strategies that talent managers leverage to impact their employees and the bottom line. Consider the following:

In 2007, BSR reported 82 percent of private sector executives, NGOs and policymakers are optimistic companies around the world will make corporate social responsibility a core business strategy in the next five years. Grant Thortons 2007 Corporate Responsibility Survey found 77 percent of business executives expect corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies during the next several years. Seventy-five percent of surveyed business executives believe corporate responsibility could enhance profitability. Weber Shandwicks 2006 Safeguarding Reputation report said 79 percent of global business executives believe companies with strong corporate responsibility track records recover their reputations faster post-crisis than those with weaker records.

Talent Management Benefits A recent poll from HR Magazine, ranking the top three benefits of corporate social responsibility in the workplace, showed staff retention, attracting the best talent and increasing motivation and engagement received the most votes. Consider the following:

Grant Thorntons 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility Survey found attracting and retaining talent is one of the three greatest benefits of enacting corporate responsibility programs. Schmidt, Albinger and Freeman found companies performing well on measures of social performance have been found to hold greater attractiveness to job seekers, particularly highquality job seekers with relatively many options. Sirota Survey Intelligence reported in 2007 that of employees satisfied with their companies social responsibility commitment: Eighty-six percent have high levels of engagement.

Eighty-two percent feel their organizations are highly competitive in the marketplace. Seventy-five percent feel their employers are interested in their well-being. TCS, a resourcing communications agency in the U.K., reports nearly 30 percent of people would compromise salary to work for a company with a good corporate social responsibility policy. Almost half (44 percent) of those surveyed said an organizations corporate responsibility policy was likely or very likely to affect their choice to apply for a job with that organization. Penna, a human capital management consultancy, found nearly 90 percent of HR directors believe the future workforce will be less loyal than past generations, and 92 percent consider corporate responsibility policies important to employer brand, which is essential to the recruitment and retention of the X and Y generations. The National Consumer League found almost 50 percent of Americans believe the most important proof of corporate social responsibility is treating employees well; additionally, 76 percent of Americans believe a companys treatment of its employees plays a big role in consumer purchasing decisions.

The story is clear. The corporate responsibility movement is intersecting with talent management. The vocabulary of HR professionals and talent leaders is woven throughout, and those charged with talent management initiatives must create the connections, fill-in-the dots and piggyback policies in order to tap into the power corporate responsibility has to affect recruiting, engaging and retaining employees. Organizations without a corporate responsibility policy may want to propose one now in order to benefit from a demonstrated competitive advantage. Corporate Responsibility: Impacting the HR Function A recent HR Magazine survey reported:

Ten percent of HR professionals are in charge of corporate responsibility in their businesses. Thirty-five percent of HR practitioners believe corporate responsibility should fall within the HR function. Fifteen percent reported having a dedicated corporate responsibility person or department. Eighty percent believe corporate responsibility will be a more important part of their jobs in the next five years. Thirty percent of respondents organizations have a corporate responsibility policy, and 22 percent are working on one.

As the corporate responsibility movement continues to gain momentum, it is likely these numbers will increase. HR practitioners will strengthen their organizational impact by adding corporate responsibility to their business vocabulary.

Some examples of corporate responsibility programs and policies being implemented by corporations include:

Workplace diversity. Suitable working conditions. Nonexploitation of workers, including discrimination and harassment policies. Avoidance of child labor issues. Work-life balance initiatives. Social/community policies supporting volunteerism and charitable giving. Going green programs, such as recycling and resource conservation. Reducing carbon emissions footprints. Partnering with environmentally friendly suppliers and companies. Apparently, the aforementioned programs are quite prominent. HR Magazines readership survey reported: Seventy-seven percent encourage employee engagement/volunteer activities in the local community. 24.6 percent encourage employee engagement/volunteer activities abroad. 90.2 percent run a recycling policy in the workplace. 32.8 percent offer green benefits, such as transport. 13.1 percent offer an incentives program reflecting corporate citizenship. Fifty-nine percent include corporate social responsibility/environmental issues in induction training.

Corporate Responsibility's Impact on Talent Management Recycling programs and employee volunteerism are the most prevalent corporate responsibility programs being reported. And since most employees learn about these programs during training programs, this information is of particular relevance to hiring managers and talent leaders responsible for developing new-hire programming.

Obstacles to Corporate Responsibility Costs and measurement challenges are among the most cited obstacles to corporate responsibility. The Grant Thorton 2007 Corporate Responsibility Survey reported the four greatest obstacles to successful execution of corporate responsibility programs are:

Focus on quarterly earnings or other short-term targets. Cost of implementation. Measuring and quantifying ROI. Nonsupportive corporate culture. In its 2006 survey, Reward Trumps Risk: How Business Perspectives on Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability Are Changing, The Conference Board reported the three greatest challenges citizenship programs currently face are: Measuring results (75 percent). Coping with limited financial and staffing resources (58 percent). Aligning with business objectives (57 percent).

These organizations seem to be in the minority, but some progressive companies have found ways to measure the effects of corporate responsibility. For instance, PR News and Cone Inc., a cause-branding agency, found that 14 percent of businesses surveyed measure the impact of corporate responsibility communications on retention/recruitment. Further, HR Magazines readership survey reported 32.8 percent include corporate responsibility/environmental concerns in staff performance measures. Increasingly, corporate responsibility likely will be incorporated into talent management programs in the form of required competencies for managers and employees. Corporate Responsibility's Impact on Talent Management Recycling programs and employee volunteerism are the most prevalent corporate responsibility programs being reported. And since most employees learn about these programs during training programs, this information is of particular relevance to hiring managers and talent leaders responsible for developing new-hire programming. Obstacles to Corporate Responsibility Costs and measurement challenges are among the most cited obstacles to corporate responsibility. The Grant Thorton 2007 Corporate Responsibility Survey reported the four greatest obstacles to successful execution of corporate responsibility programs are:

Focus on quarterly earnings or other short-term targets.

Cost of implementation. Measuring and quantifying ROI. Nonsupportive corporate culture. In its 2006 survey, Reward Trumps Risk: How Business Perspectives on Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability Are Changing, The Conference Board reported the three greatest challenges citizenship programs currently face are: Measuring results (75 percent). Coping with limited financial and staffing resources (58 percent). Aligning with business objectives (57 percent).

These organizations seem to be in the minority, but some progressive companies have found ways to measure the effects of corporate responsibility. For instance, PR News and Cone Inc., a cause-branding agency, found that 14 percent of businesses surveyed measure the impact of corporate responsibility communications on retention/recruitment. Further, HR Magazines readership survey reported 32.8 percent include corporate responsibility/environmental concerns in staff performance measures. Increasingly, corporate responsibility likely will be incorporated into talent management programs in the form of required competencies for managers and employees.