Which CSR skills will your team need? To foster inclusivity and enhance a culture of community and shared values, it is central that a CSR team be comprised of a diverse group of individuals. The team could consist of employees with comprehensive and relevant sets of skills, experience, and knowledge as follows:
(a) Employment relations: A specific set of skills and knowledge is required in the spheres of employment relations and job promotion. By understanding the challenges faced by businesses and their needs in terms of skills, these employees would be able to identify practical solutions for promoting employment through the development of partnerships with corporations.
Having a solid knowledge of the challenges involved in the promotion of employment, these employees would be able to identify NGOs and/or foundations whose initiatives would have the greatest potential for success.
(b) National and International labour legislation: Employees with expertise in this area will ensure that the organization responds to feedback from national and international institutions and adapts accordingly. The presence of experts in the field of labour legislation will be a valuable asset to the organization, as they would provide relevant information on practical measures and initiatives that have already been undertaken by the organization in collaboration with global enterprises and civil society. All of this can then be effectively communicated to international stakeholders, thereby demonstrating the organization’s positive achievements. (This position/ these skills could also be sourced in-house).
(c) Safeguarding well-being (including health, safety, and the environment): Safeguarding the quality of life and the environment is essential to human development. Our economy is based on resources from the environment, and our health and well-being (and hence our productivity) are inextricably linked to its quality. The team will, therefore, require individuals with an understanding of the environment, climate change, human health and well-being, and environmental engineering. This expertise will be important in order to further promote the practice of “sustainable governance” as emulated by other public and/or private organizations in the country and region.
(d) Business: The advice and contribution of experienced professionals from the world of business play an important role in reaching out to companies. These employees, because of their experience, understand the needs and challenges of businesses and, therefore, are able to bring on board employers’ perspectives and practices. Their experience places them in the best position to communicate with corporations and businesses in general.
(e) Social studies/ Gender balance: Further integration of women into the workforce will require these employees to have a profound understanding of gender dynamics and an in-depth knowledge of successful practices and theories in regard to women’s engagement, together with an ability as to how to address gender matters within the cultural context.
(f) Mediation skills: This is a crucial skill needed for handling enquiries from organizations that do not yet fully see the added value of CSR. Mediation skills will encourage dialogue among the different parties to take place and will close the gap between parties holding differing, and sometimes conflicting, positions.
(g) Monitoring and evaluation skills: It is recommended that a reliable reporting system be set to facilitate the assessment of the efficacy of CSR mechanisms and of the partnerships and collaboration with corporations and NGOs/foundations that are being developed—all of which will facilitate the honing, if required, of areas of focus. An experienced professional in program management with strong monitoring and evaluation skills would work towards guaranteeing the quality of outcomes, establishing transparency for the CSR strategies, and analysing the programs and activities deployed by organization. Moreover, should the organization decide to run social audits of their suppliers, monitoring and evaluation skills would be invaluable in providing a standardized social auditing system to measure the impact of the strategies.
KPI & Reporting
It is also recommended to measure and report on the progress made in each of these categories of responsibilities by means of the use of unique CSR monitoring tools and key performance indicators (KPIs). The Department should use KPIs as the basis for analyzing and tracking performance and for assessing the efficacy of key strategic decisions regarding staffing and resources, as well as for making recommendations to improve future departmental performance. Furthermore, when the findings and recommendations of CSR reports will be in the process of implementation, auditing and reporting mechanisms should indicate the use of recognized standards, and should reflect the strategies and programs that form the core of the organizational activities.
For optimal performance and to ensure long-term success, it is vital that an initial phase of team building be organized with to promote a climate of trust and collaboration, thus enhancing synergy (where separate elements work together and cooperate as a totality). This will foster critical cohesion and a sense of unity—qualities which are conducive to achieving common goals.
Team-building exercises can be a powerful way of creating strong teams, where people feel part of something larger and where they work cohesively to achieve the objectives of the organization for the greater good.