Instilling corporate social responsibility among employees
|In domains||Good Governance, Household Products, Stakeholder Engagement|
In order to enhance the company’s mission to promote social and environmental responsibility through its non-toxic and environmentally-friendly household products, Seventh Generation has developed a human resources policy based wholly on the individual and collective social responsibility of its employees.
- select responsible employees: during the hiring process, job applicants are questioned regarding their awareness of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility; up to 50% of the hiring decision may be based on this information. Next, newly-hired staff receive two days of training concerning the company’s mission, vision, growth and market position, as well as various environmental and health issues and the steps required to become an exemplary and professional employee;
- create communication tools and “systems-thinking frameworks”;
o Seventh Generation’s newsletter, “Non-Toxic Times”, is a means of informing consumers regarding the company’s values and goals and providing details on its products;
o Three “value-focused” committees have been created: a Green/Community Involvement Team, a Values and Operating Principles Committee, and a Work/Life Balance Committee. Each committee or team is tasked with establishing specific goals on an annual basis; members meet once a month to plan activities and review the company’s progress with regard to its initial goals;
o Employees are each expected to formulate an annual plan that sets personal goals concerning their activities in the company (Key Results Objectives, or KROs). For example, company president Jeffrey Hollender feels that he does not spend enough time listening to those around him; working to improve his capacity to listen is thus one of his KROs, and reaching this goal will have a positive impact on his role in the company.
- a major challenge is ensuring the continuity of this policy among employees over the long term; incentives are necessary to encourage employees to remain committed. For example, at Seventh Generation, two measures have been introduced:
Each employee must serve on at least one of the three committees mentioned above; Progress on KROs is assessed every three months, and 25% of bonus compensation for employees is based on the achievement of these goals.
- This human resources policy requires the active engagement of management, without which such a policy would not be implemented.
Excellent state of finances: with an annual growth rate of 40%, the company’s revenue, which was US$40 million in 2004, could climb to $200 million in 2010. This demonstrates that a strategy of providing unique products and a human resources policy that is both responsible and generous can make for a powerful combination.
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