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The CSR Diges e st
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leave a co omment » A Close Look At Employers’ CSR Dutie er es Of the f four dimens sions, public listed com mpanies had the best d score fo CSR at th workplace in the Bur Malaysia or he rsa a’s “Corpor rate Social R Responsibility in Malay ysia 2007 St tatus Report“ The Bursa Malaysia’s CSR Frame “. a ework, publi ished in 2006, listed the fo ollowing prio orities unde the workp er place dimension: • Employe Involvem ee ment • • • • • • • Workpla Diversity ace y Gender Issues Human Capital Dev velopment Quality o Life of Labour R Rights Human Rights Health & Safety • • • •
The CS Digest offe quality SR ers content on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ) sustain nable and res sponsible
investm ment (SRI). Th CSR Diges he st explore the corpor es rate conscien nce worldw wide, with a special emphasis on Malaysia and the
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Sub bscribe in a reader r Puan Maimunah Aminuddin
The CSR Digest conducted an email inter R rview with Human H Resourc Manage ces ement (HRM) guru, Puan. Maimuna ah Aminud ddin. Puan. Maimunah served in U Universiti Te eknologi Mara (U UiTM) for 34 years. She began her career in Malaysia 4 M teaching industrial relations a UiTM, the later beca l at en ame one of Malaysia’s leade in HRM. Her book, “ ers “Malaysian Industrial Relation and Emp ns ployment Law”, 6th edit tion, is McG Graw Hill’s best-seller in the category of b books written by local authors. Puan. M Maimunah re ecently auth hored “Hum Resourc man ce Manage ement”, pub blished by O Oxford University Publications, the first book in En t nglish on HRM specifically written for the Malaysian market. Do ve ments on the Bursa Malaysia e CSRD: D you hav any comm having made CSR r reporting co ompulsory f listed co for ompanies since 20 006? • • • •
CSR Dig gest Editorial Marketplace Transparency Workplace
MA: I feel that Bursa Malaysia’s requirement of compulsory CSR reporting an excellent move. Listed companies are responsible to their share-holders, but they also need to be accountable for their decisions and actions which affect the general public. As listed company’s annual reports are readily available for scrutiny, interested parties will be able to directly access information about the CSR activities of the companies concerned. Having said that, clearly we must distinguish between CSR reporting and the realities of business. According to csrinternational.blogspot.com, the company in Malaysia judged to have the best CSR reporting recently is British American Tobacco - most definitely not a company which could be said to be socially responsible, in that its product allegedly kills thousands of persons each year!
“Human Resource Management” by Puan. Maimunah Aminuddin (Oxford University Publications)
CSRD: How do Malaysian employers fare in general when it comes to CSR at the workplace? MA: There is a growing wealth of evidence relating to the state of the CSR in Malaysia today. Lecturers at Universiti Teknologi MARA’s Faculty of Accountancy have been studying this issue since the late 1990s, most notably starting with Prof. Dr Mustaffa Mohd Zain’s doctoral thesis entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility in Malaysia: the current state of the art and future prospects.” In the last eight years, Prof. Mustaffa and his colleagues have published more than a dozen articles on the subject, and the same number of students have written Masters level case studies on CSR in different industries in Malaysia. Notwithstanding the academic interest in the subject, and the Bursa Malaysia requirements on reporting on CSR, which apply to listed companies, I suspect the average SME doesn’t have an interest in CSR.
Office Job Stressful Job by Frixedairwave
That is not to say that SME’s conduct their businesses irresponsibly, merely that their focus is on profit first, or at least survival; if CSR helps achieve these aims, well and good. If it does not, then it is not of interest to entrepreneurs. CSR requires employers to treat their internal customers, i.e. employees, ethically. Complying with the relevant employment laws is a good start but any company which hopes to boast about its CSR efforts should begin by looking long and hard at how it manages its employees. After all, these employees make decisions on behalf of the organization. They cannot be expected to look after external stakeholders well if they feel themselves to be neglected or discriminated against by the employer. Thus, employers who discriminate against some employees because they belong to a particular racial or religious group, gender, age group, or simply because they are different in some way to the average worker are certainly behaving in a way which is the very antithesis of corporate social responsibility. Many employers do not realize that their failure to take proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment is a form of discrimination as well as evidence of lack of caring about safety at the workplace. The government has been trying to get employers to formally adopt the Code of Practice on Preventing and Eradicating Sexual Harassment at the Workplace. Statistics provided by the Ministry of Human Resources show that only a tiny percentage of employers have done so. Of course, it is possible that many socially responsible employers have, in fact, introduced appropriate procedures and practices to eliminate sexual harassment, but have not officially informed the Ministry that they have done the necessary.
Office Politics by David Whitlam
CSRD: What more can be done to improve workplace CSR? MA: In Malaysia, we still need vigorous enforcement of relevant laws, such as employment laws and environmental protection laws as well as consumer protection legislation. On the whole, the laws we have are comprehensive, but are not well enforced for a variety of reasons. CSRD: Do you think CSR at the workplace should be legislated? MA: I doubt whether CSR can be effectively legislated. One size does not fit all. Different businesses in differing industries have different CSR issues. CSRD: What is the best method of getting businesses to take on more corporate social responsibility at the workplace? MA: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that legislation does not solve many of the problems faced by society today. Indeed, the more legislation that is introduced, the more some employers look for ways to avoid having to comply. Legislation will not make employers socially responsible without other complimentary action.
Office Hours by Canislupusmoon
It might be helpful if all employers with more than, say, 50 employees were required to appoint a director responsible for CSR related matters, including compliance with the relevant legislation. Alternatively, all directors of a company may be made jointly responsible and should there be any non-compliance, all the directors should be jointly charged. Fines should be hefty and magistrates must be willing to impose maximum fines where appropriate. It would also be helpful if HR professional and academic courses included a compulsory course on CSR in their programmes. CSRD: Kelly Services Inc. conducted a survey which found that 87% of Malaysian respondents believed employers should contribute to their employees’ well-being by enabling fl exible hours, access to gym facilities and less workplace stress. Do you have any comments on these? MA: Malaysian employers on the whole have so far been very reluctant to experiment with practices which would improve the work-life balance of their employees, even when it is obvious that the employees themselves and society in general would benefit from such practices. Except for the largest employers, it is uncommon for employers to offer benefits such as subsidized gym facilities or wellness facilities at the workplace.
At The Office by AndreeWallin
The general attitude of most employers is that “if other employers don’t offer, why should we?” Yet, by pushing themselves to the forefront in offering benefits that really benefit employees, not only would the employer be able to attract and retain talented workers, productivity would also improve. Many strategies to improve employees’ work-life balance cost little or nothing but have the potential to bring about good returns. For example, flexible working hours, including flexibility of where work is to be done for those whose jobs allow this (tele-working and so on) can bring about major gains to both employers as well as employees. ◊
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