Why HR leaders are best placed to drive positive community engagement
The role of Human Resources is being positively re-evaluated as companies realise that they need to do good to sustain doing well. Who then is better placed than HR to act as the conscience of the company? Who is more equipped to drive engagement and change? Who ensures that the people of the company are skilled to meet the purpose of the organisation and delight their customers?
People are electing from which companies they will buy / work
The 2017 Cone communications CSR study shares that "Companies must now share not only what they stand for, but what they stand up for". Cone records in the US that "87 percent will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76 percent will refuse to purchase a company's products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs".
Conscience of the company
HR leaders monitor the heartbeat of the company. They are integral to ensuring that the purpose of the organisation is clear and defined. That the purpose is uplifting and authentic. That it resonates throughout the organisation. HR is further charged with selecting and preparing the individuals and teams required to carry out the purpose of the organisation.
HR leaders determine with line managers the skills gaps that need to be bridged. This includes providing opportunities that grow people into both their current and often their next role. Engagement can happen both within and with partners of the organisation. These partners can be commercial or community. Using commercial skills to meet a community partner skills gap is highly rewarding.
Having engaged personnel is the forerunner to delighting customers. Understanding and believing in the company purpose - especially where it extends into the community - gives people purpose. It is the engine for growth and the totem for decision making. Customers that are appraised of the company's purpose become better engaged and more tolerant in times when things do not go exactly as planned.
Demonstrating purpose through an aligned community partner
You know when you have achieved an authentic alignment when people tell you that your choice is obvious. Like all good things, it usually takes some time and effort to get there. HR is well placed to both guide the sphere of influence e.g. youth focus of the resonating partner, but also in the selection and engagement process. They can in turn survey personnel to confirm partner fit and what success entails.
A growing youth education example
Restauranteur Al Brown partnered with school programme 'Garden to Table' which brings low decile school children in contact with what grows from the earth. Al and his team made the match after receiving many community approaches. He and his team visit schools to talk about food, bring students into their restaurants, and provide funds to the schools when they sell a dish that contained their vegetables.
Human Resource leaders are well placed to drive positive engagement within the company and extending to its community partner. You:
- Are the heartbeat on the culture of the company, an essential ally of the board;
- Are an employee advocate to share what positive engagement can be achieved;
- Know authentically what / who fits the purpose of the company
- Hold the view of skills / team required to execute long term plans of the business and how that may in turn strengthen your long-term community partner of choice.
Brian Steele has a background in finance and the arts. He founded www.giddyup.net.nz to strategically link business with inspiring community partners who live your values and inspire your audience.