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CSR for HR
A Necessary Partnership for Advancing Responsible Business Practices
Author: Elaine Cohen
Publication Date: 2010-10-01
Publisher: Greenleaf Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-906093-46-4 | 314 pages | Hardback RRP: £RRP: £ 24.95 Price: £19.96   get 20% discount off RRP by purchasing online now
and get a further 10% reduction by using discount code CRPREG27 at the checkout
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Arguably, the Human Resources (HR) function is the key partner in embedding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability initiatives in any organisation, as this can be achieved only when a company educates, engages and empowers its entire workforce.
This book goes further and proposes that the HR function has a responsibility to be proactive in leading the way in establishing a company-wide CSR-enabled culture. CSR for HR provides HR managers with a thorough understanding of the drivers and principles of CSR and a guide to the way CSR interfaces with HR functions. Recruitment, compensation, training, employee communications, well-being and rights, health & safety, involvement in the community, and employee impacts on the environment are all discussed, with examples showing how HR can leverage CSR strategies to deliver greater benefit for the business, for employees, for society, for the environment and for HR professionals themselves.
Written from the standpoint of an HR professional waking up to the strategic possibilities of incorporating CSR in her day-to-day role, the book has an engaging style, ideal for the busy managerial reader. CSR for HR is both a wake-up call and a toolkit and is essential reading for practitioners in both HR and CSR.

"Cohen does an outstanding job showing the connection between HR and CSR. She shows how HR practices in staffing, training, compensation, job design, and culture creation can be adapted to further CSR work within a company. Her ideas are fresh; her examples are relevant; and her writing is clear. This book will be useful to any company working to advance sustainability, philanthropy, or work/life policies as part of their CSR agenda."
Dave Ulrich, Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner, The RBL Group

"In CSR for HR, Elaine Cohen has described one of the true ‘secrets of success’ for leading companies in the 21st century. In a clear, compelling and engaging way, she outlines the tremendous role HR professionals can play to advance corporate social responsibility within their companies while enhancing recruiting, retention and engagement."
Dave Stangis, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Campbell Soup Company

"When new or potential employees first connect to our HR departments, we have an opportunity to show them something of the company culture. As a company with a strong CSR commitment, it is important to emphasize how these principles are integrated into all aspects of our company. Elaine Cohen offers compelling ideas for how to make that happen, beginning in HR and radiating out to all functions of the business."
Eileen Fisher, Chief Creative Officer, Eileen Fisher, Inc.

"In this book, Elaine Cohen provides the compelling evidence of the positive impacts the Human Resource function can have on an organization’s sustainability performance. More importantly, she provides insight into how the CSR-enlightened HR professional plays a key role in the promotion of organizational leadership and innovation, potentially leading to top-line business performance."
Jeffrey Hogue, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability, Danisco A/S

"Finally a hands-on, informative and engaging book on the essential connection between HR and CSR! To quote a quote from the book itself – CSR without HR is PR – and with her typical storytelling flair Elaine proves this point beautifully. It is a call to action for the HR community to take on this agenda for the benefit of their own profession, their companies, and ultimately the planet."
Maria Sillanpää, Founding Director, Sustainability Advisory Group

"This book gives HR and CSR professionals permission to be human. In fact, it goes so far as to suggest it might be integral to responsible business success. Get it, read it, share it!"
Christine Arena, author of The High-Purpose Company

"This book is a wonderful contribution to an important aspect of Corporate Responsibility. I am continually conscious of the need to apply CSR thinking first and foremost within our business, and the way we relate to our employees. Elaine has provided fascinating insights in a way which is easy to understand and reapply in all businesses."
Sybil Goldfiner, CEO, comme il faut

"In my view, this book covers an innovative subject and provides a wide range of knowledge and practical examples which can apply in all businesses in all sectors. The book is written in an interesting and pragmatic style. It seems that the author has a good overall view of how businesses work and writes in a language that HR professionals can understand. This is a fascinating book which offers inspiration and a desire to progress the sustainability agenda."
Inbal Cinman, Corporate Responsibility Director, Ness Technologies Inc.

"A new corporate consciousness is redefining the way we conduct business, and a company’s HR department must embrace this and lead the change by ensuring that they continue to attract the right talent. Whether you work in HR, talent management, diversity, leadership development, or have any role in business strategy, this book is a must-read!"
Aman Singh Das, Editor, Corporate Responsibility, Inc.


Aequology's Blog, 12 December 2010
I’ve been following Elaine’s work for a while, mostly through her Twitter account – @ElaineCohen – and by attending a couple of virtual events on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) where she was a speaker. So when her book was recently published I didn’t miss the opportunity to read it. … CSR for HR is a very meaningful book by a knowledgeable author whose effective storytelling provides the compelling evidence that “a partnership” – between HR and CSR – is needed to advance “responsible business practices”. Although the Author has included few fictional characters to support her point, the situations, comments and people described in the book are absolutely realistic and will sound familiar to most of the readers. Along with those fictional characters, Elaine Cohen mentions and quotes some of the most well-known experts working in the fields of HR, CSR and Sustainability such as Julie Urlaub of Taiga Company, Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth or Cathy Joseph. Finally, it’s nice to see that the Author has managed to stay away from any technical jargon and smartly uses humor and anecdotes all along the narrative.

… The book, as the author puts it, is a “wake up call” for the HR profession and a toolkit to help members of that profession becoming Corporate Social Human Resources (CSHR) Manager. It’s also a perfect introduction to CSR and sustainability for anyone willing to develop their understanding of those concepts through concrete examples and support the advance of “responsible business practices”. However, for HR professionals, Elaine’s book is much more than an introduction: it’s a practical guide for designing and conducting specific actions that aim to build CSR credibility, which is, as the book points out, “dependent on delivery and not on rhetoric.”

The book describes a comprehensive range of actions that HR professionals can take to deliver sound CSR results, from Ethics, Human Rights, Employee engagement and reward to Green Teams and Volunteering Programs. For each of those topics, the Author offers real life examples, thoroughly presented, including useful facts and links for who’d like to get into further details. But the book should not be seen as a manual or a recipe book only. It highlights, in my opinion, something critical: what is essential is the process of building a sustainability strategy and defining the CSR activities that support it. Simply copying what others are doing is not an option, for the strategy, to be successful, must be authentic, not driven by PR considerations and therefore developed by each company based on their particular internal and external situations. However, there’s no need to “reinvent the wheel”, as the achievements of the pioneers and practitioners in this field constitute a solid set of references for HR professionals who understand that, not only CSR is “here to stay”, but is an essential part of their job. The Author demonstrates through the book that cooperation and teamwork, both internal and external, are key in order to build a successful CSR roadmap and that what matters, as Arena tells Sharon, are “small steps and small wins”.

Yesterday I met up with my friend Victoria, a young and talented HR manager, working with a multinational IT company and I asked her what she knew about Corporate Social Responsibility and if it was part of her role and responsibilities. She, almost literally, answered: “I have to admit that I don’t know what corporate social responsibility involves. I’m not sure why it’s important. ” We enjoyed our Cookie Dough ice cream, chatting about other topics, before having a walk along the sea in Barcelona. When I went back home I ordered a copy of CSR for HR . It will be the perfect Christmas gift for Victoria and, hopefully, the beginning of a great journey!

Carol Sanford blog, 1 December 2010
What Cohen offers is a detailed execution plan on how to embed CSR into the way of managing people. And since this is contrary to the majority of business practices, she lets us watch as a manager, Sharon, goes through the discovery process of how much more powerful and even efficient this is, than the fragmented programmatic method. She is engaged by Arena, who serves as the Socratic teacher and coach in Sharon’s discovery. This allows Cohen to unfold a little at a time, of the changes necessary to shift to the integrated approach, which we eventually will come to see as much simpler … What we get is an introduction to a different kind of workplace where dialogue and engagement form the basis of decision making, all necessary to employees taking more CSR responsibility into their daily lives …You really get the feeling of what it would be like to see CSR from the shoes of a fully engaged employee.

In addition to the philosophical and practical foundation for her recommendations in new practices, Cohen provides a roadmap for the new infrastructure that will be necessary to connect employees with stakeholders in a this more direct and integrated way and a roadmap to build a plan. And the of stories of real companies that are woven in to the manager’s learning experience, ones who have taken on the new infrastructure and practices offered, gives us more confidence, that this is not all hypothetical.

The workbook that has been laid out through the book, gives an easy way to review the how-to but with the story still in our mind. Somehow the story telling mode makes it feel more doable.

Aman Singh,, CSRwire, 15 November 2010
The book is a persuasive argument for connecting CSR with a company's human resources function. Having spent over 20 years in senior leadership positions with companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever, Cohen's narratives come from experience … Cohen's 300-page missive then comes as a bible of sorts. Written in a conversational manner -- which lends itself to an easy read on an otherwise weighty topic -- the book follows two accomplished HR professionals who clearly love their jobs. The difference: Sharon Black sees her job as a strictly people management function (recruitment, compensation, benefits, training, etc.) while Arena Dardelle defines human resources as a vital driver of the company's long-term sustainability. By the way, both Sharon and Arena are fictional characters.

How do the two align? This is where the true value of the book lies.

Chapter by chapter, Cohen examines how functionalities like employee welfare, organizational development, compensation, benefits, training, recruitment and retention, diversity and inclusion, and even employee rights -- long considered traditional HR duties first to be dispensed with in a recession, budget-constrained and full of regulatory jargon -- tie into a company's lifecycle, strengthen its brand and guarantee long-term stability. Her use of numerous case studies like The Body Shop, GE's ecomagination, Gap, Nike, Microsoft, Patagonia, Timberland and many others, peppered throughout the pages, further add a quotient of practical realism.

This gem will sit on my desk not only as an indispensable reference tool, but also as a constant reminder that a wealth of innovation remains untouched, just an arm's length away.

Lalia Helmer, Business that Cares blog
CSR FOR HR or HR FOR CSR – a Win Win For Everybody
Reading CSR for HR by Elaine Cohen has successfully answered some key questions that have I been chewing over in my head ... this book was an eye opener for me...

And while ‘the intended audience is anyone practising, teaching, learning, aspiring to be in the HR function’, I see value in expanded the audience to include anyone practicing, or aspiring to be in the CSR function as well.

Yes, Elaine Cohen’s book is a must read for anyone in HR function of any sized organization, and let’s not forget for CSR practitioners too.

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