30 May 5 common mistakes when implementing CSR and how to avoid them
Corporate Social Responsibility: Sometimes a difficult road to success
Implementing a CSR program is not always obvious, here are 5 common mistakes to avoid.
1. Blurry vision & blurry objectives
There is nothing worse than not providing a clear direction and objectives to teams. The team will simply not know what to work on, and it will result in lots of confusion, frustration, and inefficiencies. Establishing a clear vision is vital. Expressing and sharing the mission and its objectives are critical. In order to achieve the mission, the objectives must be: Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Reasonable and Time-bound (aka as SMART). A great way to set the sustainability objectives is to use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which typically meet the “SMART” characteristics. Some sustainability KPIs are often obvious (e.g Carbon Footprint), some have to be decided and customized to the organization.
2. Assembling the wrong team
To execute on the strategy, the right team needs to be assembled. Choosing team members based on experience and knowledge is important, but also, willingness and leadership are key. Choosing the wrong team could lead to a semi-committed effort in achieving the sustainability objectives.
3. Thinking short term
Sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint. Daily efforts and yearly achievements build up the long-term success and add value incrementally. Many benefits of sustainability are achieved over longer periods because they typically morph the brand and culture slowly. Reducing pollution or philanthropy are examples of changes that will provide results in the long term rather than in the short term. Don’t let the race bring you down or make you impatient. It’s worth it, just and always think about the long-term effects!
4. Inconsistent reporting
Once a team has been engaged and medium to long-term activities are in progress, it is time to keep the motivation and control high with good reporting. Inconsistent or inappropriate reporting could cause confusion or even derail all efforts. Engaging and informative reporting makes it simpler for everybody (internally and externally) to understand status and progress to date. It also clearly shows the amount of work, effort, and achievements made, adding to the sense of purpose. A simple but very efficient way to report is to use the initial KPIs as the primary reporting tool.
5. Lack of leadership & culture
Motivated teams are usually born from great leadership and company culture. Sustainability needs to be embedded in the culture of the company to ensure everyone is motivated, inspired and willing to make the efforts towards the necessary changes. Leaders must assume an active role, re-sharing the vision continuously. It is required to keep re-telling the story of the importance sustainability has for the long-term well-being of the company, the added value it provides to its people and the impact it will have on the community.
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