Insight & Analysis

Internal CSR Communications Suck

By Wayne Dunn

Wayne Dunn

Wayne Dunn is an award-winning global CSR expert with extensive teaching, writing, lecturing and Advisory Service experience. He is supported by an extensive faculty and advisory team.

Let’s be honest:  Internal CSR Communications Suck

CSR Mumbley Gook communications need to stop. Until us CSR Professionals get better at internal communications and engagement we will stay in an irrelevant sandbox away from core business activities and decisions.
CEOs, because of the broad and diverse constituents they deal with, generally get the relevance of CSR.
Too often the Finance, Operations, Engineering, Production and other functions don’t get it. They may make the right noises (because it is expected of them) but at a fundamental level they don’t get the core relevance of CSR to their role and their career.
Part of the reason they don’t get it is because the CSR Pros (myself included) can’t or won’t spend the time making focused internal business cases.
The “What’s in it for me?” case must be developed and communicated across the entire organization.
It is the CSR team’s responsibility to help EVERY leader and their team understand the relevance of CSR for their role and work.

There is a strong What’s in it for me? for Finance, Operations, Engineering, Production, R & D and other areas of the business. If they don’t know it then it is up to the CSR team to develop and communicate it so they can hear it.
Until they do, CSR will remain an outsider to the inside of the business.
·         CSR is important for Shareholders AND for all functions and divisions inside a company.
·         It is CSR’s responsibility to help those functions and divisions to understand why.
·         If they don’t, then the CSR team has failed.
If CSR is on the outside looking in at company operations then the CSR team has to take the lead to change that.  By making it clearly understood how and why CSR is directly relevant to the organization’s Departments and Units, Leaders and Workers.

Some thoughts on how to do this are in Engaging Internal Stakeholders in our CSR Knowledge Centre. But don’t expect all the answers there. They aren’t.
Many of the answers are in your experience and insights. Look there for the stories and the business case that can help your colleagues to understand the importance of CSR for all functions and departments in your organization.
Remember, if you are not creating value with CSR then you will have a tough time to communicate value.  But, when you do create value with CSR, be sure to communicate it.
Not communicate in a Socialwash sort of way, but it a way that can be heard and accepted.
CSR is about value.  Figure out the value for them and communicate it clearly to your internal stakeholders.

When we get the internal CSR communications right not only will our work be easier and our external CSR projects work better and have more societal impact.  Our company and our shareholders will capture more value too.
Get CSR value right AND get the internal and external communications right and get ready for an exciting ride.