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October 23, 2014
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Home » Structuring & Staffing Corporate Responsibility: A Guidebook

Structuring and Staffing Corporate Responsibility, A Guidebook

Corporate responsibility (CR) remains a nascent, if fast growing field.  For it to grow into a profession, it needs certain attributes including standards of conduct and a recognized body of knowledge.  This Guidebook aspires to lay this groundwork by addressing several key questions:

  • How can companies organize CR for success?
  • What kinds of leaders should hold CR positions?
  • What knowledge, skills, and attributes should those leaders possess?

Early in 2010, in cooperation with the NYSE Euronext Exchanges and CR Magazine, we sent surveys to every publicly traded company on the Exchanges plus many more, seeking their answers to questions about how they budget, structure, and plan for their Corporate Responsibility Programs.  Simultaneously, the CRA’s Professional Development Committee engaged in a structured review of how companies organize the function and the responsibilities they delegate to CR professionals.  This document brings these two efforts together.

The CRA defines CR as the multi-disciplinary practice of improving the behavior of corporations in society.  CR encompasses all aspects of how companies behave as stewards of investment, as employers, and as members of communities, including corporate governance, employee relations, environmental impact, financial performance, human rights, philanthropy, social responsibility, and sustainability.  We use that encompassing definition throughout this document whenever we refer to "CR."

Who Should Use this Guidebook
Business and CR leaders, including Chief Executive Officers, Corporate Responsibility Officers and other leaders, heads of Human Resources, and boards of directors.

How to Use this Guidebook
We recommend using this Guidebook at several key moments in the lifecycle of developing and executing a CR strategy:

  • Utilize the first three sections on structuring and aligning a program when initially setting up a new program and during reviews of an existing program.
  • Use the sections on job descriptions when crafting a new position or when restructuring an existing position.
  • Use the sections on knowledge, skills, and attributes when setting up and reviewing performance plans for new and existing staff.

In the pages that follow, you will find:

  • Relevant highlights from the CR Best Practices study on how companies currently structure the CR function.
  • An “alignment model” built on case examples of how companies currently organize their CR programs and functions to achieve different strategic aims.
  • Sample organization charts documenting the different forms currently in use.
  • Template job descriptions you can use to build job descriptions of your own for your staff and organization.
  • Knowledge, skills and attributes (KSA) profiles for all of the key roles in the various CR areas.

We’ve also prefaced this work with commentary from several different perspectives to shed some light on how different people view CR today:

  • The Chief Executive.  Duncan Neiderauer, CEO of the NYSE Euronext Exchanges addresses the importance of CR to the C-Suite.
  • The Professional.  Kevin Moss, head of corporate responsibility for BT Americas and the Chair of the CROA’s Professional Development Committee shares his thoughts as a practitioner.
  • The Line Manager.  Edna Conway, Senior Director, Advanced Compliance & Social Responsibility for Cisco’s Customer Value Chain Management organization, sheds light on how an operational professional views CR.
  • The Recruiter.  Martin Killeen of Acre provides insights on how the many different companies for which he recruits CR professionals view the function.

This document, while complete at this time, remains a living document.  The Professional Development Committee continuously updates it as the field evolves.  We encourage you to check back regularly for updates.

Click here to download Structuring & Staffing Corporate Responsibility, A Guidebook.

Click here to read the Press Release announcing the release of the Guidebook.

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