Opinion: Editorial - The power of the ’human’ touch

’Corporate’ may be synonymous with cold, but today’s companies must demonstrate that they are warm-blooded organisations that understand the emotional and moral motivators of their staff and customers. According to Burson-Marsteller’s survey with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders’ Forum, corporate social and environmental responsibility is no longer a ’nice to do’, it is a ’need to do’.

’Corporate’ may be synonymous with cold, but today’s companies must

demonstrate that they are warm-blooded organisations that understand the

emotional and moral motivators of their staff and customers. According

to Burson-Marsteller’s survey with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders’

Forum, corporate social and environmental responsibility is no longer a

’nice to do’, it is a ’need to do’.



Charity alone isn’t enough - the survey of 100 European business leaders

shows that giving to charity is viewed with suspicion unless genuine

social and environmental stewardship is in place. And the bottom line is

that it affects the bottom line - nearly half of the survey respondents

agreed strongly that corporate responsibility will affect share

price.



This much is common sense, but the survey yielded some more surprising

results. Flawless environmental performance is no longer the zenith of

CSR - it’s the minimum requirement. What companies are now having to

focus on is softer, ’human relations’, mainly in the form of commitment

and respect for employees.



Respect for employees is a vague term - it could cover everything from

training to encouraging them to take time off for volunteering - but it

could open up a new area for PR professionals. This could be the start

of a hybrid discipline of human resources, public affairs, marketing and

change management, in continual engagement with all stakeholders



This is one stage further in the general drive for PR to claim its place

in the boardroom as an integral part of business strategy - staking an

early claim to the new CRS issue could be the cement that makes PR stick

there.



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