Life on the CSR Integration Spectrum: Are you Getting your Feet Wet or are You All In?

By Heather Shapter and Leslie Bennett

As someone who is committed to increasing engagement and performance in your 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, you might find yourself somewhere along the following spectrum:

At one of the end of the spectrum, you’ve gotten your feet wet with a few CSR – related events in 2012 supporting awareness and employee engagement. At the other end of the spectrum, your organization lives and breathes CSR initiatives, core values and purpose and CSR is fully integrated into all business strategies – you don’t do business unless it furthers your CSR vision AND your business goals. Wherever you find yourself along this spectrum is completely fine.

And now here comes 2013 – Ask yourself the questions : Where do we want to land on the CSR integration spectrum? What would be a win (look for something that is unpredictable – it wouldn’t normally happen) for our organization and the people (suppliers, clients, communities) we serve ?

The Experts Say…….
For those of you who are playing on the beginning points of the spectrum, take heart in how two CSR experts were successful in moving their organizations along to have them see the business case for CSR and thus be compelled to integrate it into business strategy. Early in his tenure at Canadian Tire, Tyler Elm, VP, Corporate Strategy and Business Sustainability, told key stakeholders in his organization that if you are only doing CSR because it’s the ‘right thing’ and not integrating the business case for it, “you’re either an ngo or about to be one.” They never looked back.

Likewise, Charles S. Coffey, O.C. now retired from being RBC Royal Bank’s Executive Vice President, Government Affairs and Business Development made the business case for RBC as a good corporate citizen however many times it took. If he had not, key CSR programs would have likely been cut during challenging fiscal times.

If you’re looking for more support in how to make the business case for CSR in your organization, work with experts in the CSR area that is most important to you. One example comes from Realized Worth that underscores the business benefits of corporate volunteering. Click here to read here: The Business Benefits of Corporate Volunteering.

If you find yourself further along that CSR integration spectrum, then you might ask “what is the barrier for further integration of CSR and business strategy in your organization.”

Research shows that 70% of business strategies fail in organizations. The missing link to successful strategic execution is the alignment of a company’s culture with strategy. Without your CSR strategy being aligned with your corporate culture, no amount of technical support, process improvement, team building, training and development or external consultants will fix the problem.

This article, The Missing Link: Why 70% of Corporate Strategies Fail depicts what Corporate Cultural Alignment is, its benefits, and how it can be implemented. You will also be given several actions you can take today in your organization to begin alignment and, at the same time, drastically increase the likelihood that your strategies will succeed.

Tell us where you on the CSR integration spectrum and take one action this week to move along the spectrum. We would love to hear your results.