In the last six years that I have been working in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Singapore I have seen dramatic changes. CSR, once synonymous with employee volunteering and philanthropy, is now more widely understood to be a requirement for sustainable, resilient business models. It’s no longer a ‘nice-to-have’; it’s an expectation from many stakeholders that organisations integrate
CSR into their business.
The conversations that I have with companies have moved on from fun runs and switching off the lights for an hour a year, to how to be better employers and reduce environmental footprints, and to partnerships for shared value. From my experience, I see this has been driven by several factors: investors demand greater disclosure from companies about their long-term business strategies (which includes social and environmental considerations); employees are more loyal to responsible companies and want to be part of something more than a profit-generating machine; social media has created a new stakeholder group, which is vocal and informed (call them ‘netizens’ if you will) and this puts pressure on companies to be accountable for their actions and impacts; and, business leaders are seeing the value in thinking beyond the quarterly financial reports.
So, what do these changes mean for companies in practical terms? Perhaps hardest of all is that companies now have to look at their business-as-usual models and consider how to deliver social and environmental returns, as well as financial. This means getting fresh perspectives, talking to experts beyond the factory gate (or outside the ivory tower) and hiring new talent. And it is because of the growing demand for CSR talent that 33Talent and Skylark Advisory have launched a CSR recruitment partnership. We bring together extensive recruitment expertise and deep CSR knowledge, which ensures that we are at the forefront of CSR developments, whilst providing a professional recruitment service. This combination benefits companies and candidates alike.
To conclude, I have seen dramatic changes and improvements in CSR in Singapore over the last half-decade or more. This is exciting because it’s creating new opportunities and ways of working; however, it’s also challenging and requires companies and candidates to upskill and get the right human resources in place.