The new leadership skill

CSR commitment has become an essential pillar of corporate strategy.

It involves obtaining a CSR label and the support of all the company's employees.

Why integrate CSR issues into leadership?

CSR is all the efforts made by companies to apply the principles of sustainable development.

It is based on three fundamental pillars:

80% of the CEOs of the world's leading companies consider a commitment to social responsibility to be an essential competitive advantage for their company.

The awareness of managers and their actions in the environmental and societal field is a positive development and a fundamental trend. A company's performance cannot be solely financial, it must be global.

It is therefore essential to develop the CSR strategy and management policy together.

This can be done by: implementing more teleworking, promoting diversity, paying more attention to equality issues during recruitment, and implementing CSR training.

How can we ensure that CSR is supported by the management line?

Management makes it possible to put CSR into action. Without this, there is a risk that it will remain a more or less coherent set of initiatives, unrelated to the company's strategy, indifferent to its businesses, and outside the daily lives of employees.

Raising awareness and training the management line

CSR remains a complex, multiple and ever-changing subject.

It is necessary to create a minimum knowledge base for all players and then to develop specific skills for each business line (governance, responsible purchasing, etc.).

This requires, at the instigation of the HRD for example, carrying out generic awareness-raising operations (e.g. via e-learning), including CSR in induction courses and "business" training modules and using internal communication mechanisms (posters, newsletter, intranet, social networks) to sustain the CSR culture over time.

Demonstrate the link between CSR and business

CSR has long been considered a constraint, a way to manage risks or repair impacts.

It is time to realise that it is an opportunity to meet the growing expectations of customers, to adapt to changes in the economic context (towards a functional, circular and collaborative economy), to innovate (inventing new products and services) and to provide the necessary fuel for the company's transformations.

Integrating CSR into the company's various projects

If CSR appears to be a "separate issue", it will not be carried by the management line. It is therefore necessary to try to integrate social, societal and environmental objectives upstream, from the design of the projects deployed.

Integrating CSR into HR management processes

This may involve taking into account new criteria in recruitment or annual appraisals, or revisiting skills guidelines or managerial charters. It can also mean introducing CSR objectives into the calculation of a part of the variable remuneration of executives and managers. Danone, Orange and Pernod-Ricard in France are among the pioneering groups in this area.

Using CSR as a cement for the team project

The manager is the leader of the collective project of his entity. They can make CSR an integral part of this project.

For example, the objectives of diversity and professional equality can feed into their approach to recruitment, promotion and remuneration; their company's responsibility towards the employability of employees can feed into their approach to access to the training plan, etc.

Managers can discuss the economic, social and environmental aspects of performance at team meetings.

Making CSR a tool for integrating Generation Y

83% of young people born between 1980 and 1995, who will represent 75% of employees worldwide in 2025,  believe that companies must get involved in societal issues. The manager can innovate by appealing more explicitly to each of these issues.

Create a moment of cohesion and celebration around CSR and its contributions

Reinforcing the integration of CSR into everyone's daily work is essential and the manager has a key role to play, including by example. Any opportunity to celebrate the company's CSR performance with all employees contributes to improving everyone's positive perception.

Conclusion

CSR is abundantly displayed but little embodied. It is by mobilising the managerial line, the "CSR rope line", that companies succeed in taking the path of sustainable value creation but also of motivating and inspiring development.

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