The changing global environment is forcing corporations to transform their models in order to remain profitable and relevant in their market segments. The problem of environmental degradation is a major problem attracting the attention of organizational theorists and scholars. Many consumers are also focusing on the ecological impacts of different products and services. This is the reason why the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is being taken seriously by many companies and corporations across the globe. At the same time, many policymakers and stakeholders are holding businesses accountable for implementing practices that can effect meaningful social change. The term “workforce activities” refers to the major practices, roles, and responsibilities undertaken by employees to deliver outlined organizational goals. This paper examines how the notion of workforce activities can be supported using efficient leadership strategies. The case of DEWA is also presented to promote new initiatives that can take corporate responsibility to the next level. Existing gaps and recommendations that can be embraced by strategic managers to promote meaningful change are also discussed.
Asbury and Ball (2016) acknowledge that business organizations must have sustainable corporate social responsibility (CSR) models. Different scholars have presented a number of ideas to support the concept. For instance, Sahinidis and Kavoura (2014) assert that corporations should focus on the legal, ethical, philanthropic, and economic aspects of their operations. This means that an effective CSR approach should satisfy each of these four attributes. From an economic perspective, businesses should fulfill the demands of their shareholders. They should go further to offer safe working environments and provide competitive salaries.
The legal aspect requires that businesses operate in accordance with existing principles and laws. The ethical attribute compels companies to do what is right or fair. They should also pursue actions that promote social gains or legitimacy (Asbury & Ball 2016). The philanthropic responsibility asserts that corporations should engage in discretionary behaviors in an attempt to improve every person’s life. They should also give donations and engage in social activities.
Milton’s CSR theory has been studied deeply in an attempt to understand how corporations can engage in desirable practices. According to the model, businesses should act ethically in order to attract more stakeholders and customers. When a given firm contributes positively to the surrounding community, chances are high that it will form meaningful partnerships and achieve its goals. On the other hand, corporations that are not ethical must be identified and boycotted (Yusoff & Adamu 2016). With these insights in place, corporations can identify the most appropriate practices and models in an attempt to achieve their potential and meet the needs of different stakeholders.
Theoretical Arguments and Current Practices
The introduction of CSR concepts in the workplace is an area that has received some attention within the past decade. It is agreeable that companies are managed and led by individuals who form a critical aspect. For very many years, CSR has been pursued as a concept that can only be implemented to support business processes and operations (Yusoff & Adamu 2016). It has also been expanded to focus on undertakings and products that are associated with a given firm. It is only in the recent past when scholars have focused on workforce activities in an attempt to redefine the nature and future of corporate social responsibility.
In many companies that has have made CSR part of their workforce activities, various issues have emerged that continue to attract the attention of scholars. In firms that have implemented this agenda successfully, employees become committed and willing to focus on positive practices that can add value to every process and meet the needs of different customers. The concept of leadership has also emerged whereby managers guide their employees continuously (Sahinidis & Kavoura 2014). This practice is appropriate since it empowers workers to embrace the best initiatives for empowering different beneficiaries.
In another study conducted by Tariq (2015), it was observed that employees who were encouraged to participate in different CSR initiatives such as charitable giving and environmental activities recorded increased levels of job performance. They were also willing to work harder and add value to their companies. Another group of respondents indicated that the approach made it easier for them to come up with superior ethical attributes and behaviors. This achievement explains why companies must always be ready to introduce CSR in their respective workforce activities.
As described earlier, CSR is a model that should resonate with the demands of different stakeholders. The engagement in sustainable activities can guide employees to engage in innovative practices and produce superior services and goods. The approach will definitely improve the CSR agenda of an organization (Pompper 2017). Companies whose services and goods support various sustainability efforts in the community will be admired by many customers. Consequently, the targeted firm will be in a position to achieve its potential and remain competitive in its market segment.
In corporations whereby CSR has been introduced successfully, many employees record positive outcomes in terms of job performance and happiness. They are usually willing to engage in desirable practices that can promote organizational efficiency. A new approach to this idea should be considered whenever addressing the needs of employees who serve customers directly. A good example is that of salespersons and customer service representatives. These individuals should receive continuous empowerment in order to monitor the diverse needs of their customers (Tariq 2015). They must also be responsible and offer desirable support to the targeted clients. This approach can make it easier for a given company to achieve its potential.
Wofford, MacDonald and Rodehau (2016) go further to explain why strategic managers must introduce CSR as powerful models that dictate employees’ performance. They should go further to encourage their followers to share their experiences, engage in lifelong learning, and introduce superior practices that can take the company’s CSR agenda to the next level. This move can create the best environment for sharing ideas and introducing superior practices that meet the diverse needs of different stakeholders. Throughout this process, it is appropriate for managers to make relevant decisions and offer timely support to their employees.
Keinert-Kisin (2016) goes further to explain why employees should liaise with employees and engage in volunteering activities or programs. The approach can transform a company’s image and attract more investors or stakeholders. Such activities must also be managed efficiently if positive results are to be realized. The concept of continuous improvement becomes critical in order to offer superior support to different partners and eventually achieve every business objective.
The introduction of CSR initiatives in different workforce activities has been linked with improved organizational culture. This is the case because the targeted employees will find it easier to exhibit desirable social behaviors. Consequently, the established culture continues to promote positive attributes such as philanthropy and sustainability. This knowledge, therefore, empowers management to create a desirable culture characterized by CSR collaboration. This means that individuals from diverse backgrounds will come together and focus on practices that can result in competitiveness while at the same time engaging in actions that support the welfare of community members and customers. Glavas (2016) acknowledges that this agenda will benefit companies and workers and eventually drive performance. Similarly, the communities where different companies are situated will reap the fruits of effective CSR.
Personally, I believe that organizational leaders and managers should focus on the major CSR models to introduce evidence-based practices in different working environments. This is something critical since the idea of sustainability can transform the behaviors, actions, and strategies embraced by different employees (Glavas 2016). In every workplace, individuals who consider different CSR practices will produce superior products and offer desirable services that support the wellbeing of more people. I also understand that firms that make CSR part of their workforce activities will be in a position to record positive results. It would be necessary for employees to focus on evidence-based practices, liaise with their leaders, and implement superior practices in an attempt to transform their organizations. They can also engage in desirable actions that can deliver appropriate sustainability goals.
The above discussion has revealed that workforce activities can be transformed by introducing a number of evidence-based CSR activities. This goal can be achieved by monitoring the goals and models of businesses and presenting practices that can maximize their sustainability scores. Unfortunately, not all firms have been able to take the concept of CSR seriously (Glavas 2016). This is the reason why some gaps have been identified in different working environments and organizations.
Although existing theoretical models predict a perfect scenario whereby CSR efforts can be merged successfully with workforce activities, a small percentage of companies have managed to achieve this goal. Wofford, MacDonald and Rodehau (2016) indicate that strategic managers have introduced such initiatives without using powerful change models. Consequently, the morale of different employees reduces within a short duration. The declining momentum discourages more workers from embracing evidence-based practices that can make their working environments sustainable.
Another challenge that has affected the way CSR activities are introduced in the workforce is the inability to make the agenda part of an organization’s mission or vision. This means that many employees lack an appropriate guiding model or principle, thereby being unable to make CSR part of their workforce activities (Eichar 2017). Some scholars have gone further to explain why CSR should not be left in the hands of employees. This issue has fueled a major debate that continues to dictate the way different firms consider this idea. The gap has resulted in a situation whereby different companies are unable to introduce superior models for merging CSR with workforce activities. More often than not, some companies only encourage their employees to engage in specific philanthropic activities such as planting trees and providing donations (Eichar 2017). The approach has been observed to miss the true picture of an efficient CSR agenda or strategy.
Example of Workforce Activities
The case of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is quite outstanding since it reveals how organizational leaders can guide and empower employees to engage in numerous workforce activities to drive performance while at the same time promoting the concept of corporate social responsibility. This is the reason why this corporation has been selected for this discussion. At DEWA, CSR is associated with strategic objectives and organizational visions by settling a unique policy and these three pillars of sustainability: commitment to the society, environment, and economics. DEWA has several activities related to workforce internally and externally. Good examples of DEWA’s internal workforce CSR include organizing Gala dinners and Suhoor Gatherings in Ramada. During such events, all employees interact with their top managers. Gifts are also distributed to the attendees. DEWA has also established a marriage funding program for employees who have limited incomes or struggling with their wedding expenses. Based on DEWA’s external CSR, I have identified these three CSR activities for project’s site workers:
Conducting medical checkup for site workforce
Free medical health camps and vaccination campaign is one of major programs initiated by DEWA to provide healthcare facilities to meet the immediate health needs of different workers who lack adequate time to have their health statuses checked (Pompper, 2017). This event offers free medical checkups to workers and staff working at Silicon Park Substation in Silicon Oasis area. Around 250 workers have benefited from the camps initiated by DEWA in partnership with Aster pharmacy. Such camps are managed by qualified doctors and health workers. Comprehensive free health care services (curative, preventive, and referral) are usually available to a large number of workers and staff members. Such services are usually provided for free.
Workers’ motivation program
DEWA organized this event to distribute free gifts to different workers. This event empowered site workers in order to achieve their potential. This event motivates and boosts the productivity of such individuals (Pompper, 2017). Around 270 workers benefited from this event initiated by DEWA at Silicon park SS. These activities are designed to highlight the importance of entrenching the culture of social responsibility and inculcating the principles of respect for the value of work, as well as raising awareness about human values.
Ice Cream Distribution
DEWA organized this event to distribute free ice-cream to workers during summer. The event motivated different site workers and made them relaxed. It also motivates and increases employees’ productivity and happiness (Pompper, 2017). Around 270 workers benefited from such an event. Such activities are usually designed to increase the morale of workers and make them productive.
Several suggestions can be taken seriously by strategic managers and leaders in different corporations to introduce CSR programs in their working environments. The first one is that managers should merge such attributes with existing business models, strategies, and missions. This move will ensure that more employees and guided and willing to focus on the best practices (Wofford, MacDonald & Rodehau 2016). The second recommendation is that managers should implement a powerful communication strategy to guide employees and tackle emerging conflicts. Any form of expertise can be introduced in order to make the strategy successful.
The use of metrics can also ensure that existing programs are monitored and upgraded. This approach will support the diverse needs of different stakeholders. As a company’s workforce increases, there is a need to revisit and update its policies in order to meet the needs of more shareholders. The concept should also be merged with the economic, legal, and ethical attributes associated with corporate social practices (Asbury & Ball 2016). The strategy will empower employees and encourage them to focus on evidence-based practices that can empower different stakeholders. The involvement of different players such as workers, supervisors, customers, and managers is an approach that can add value to the CSR initiative. The initiatives and approaches towards CSR embraced at DEWA can be emulated by corporations that want to transform their workforce activities. A good example of these strategies includes providing free medical checkups or services. Leaders can also utilize organizational resources to support various initiatives that can transform the experiences of different employees and community members. DEWA’s CSR model can be emulated by more firms in an attempt to achieve their objectives.
The above discussion has indicated clearly that the idea of organizational leadership can be expanded to introduce new CSR programs in different workforce activities. This is the case because many corporations have the potential to use their employees and record higher sustainability and ethics scores. The most important thing is to ensure that every CSR effort resonates with the goals of the company and those of the intended stakeholders. The involvement of managers and different players is a strategy that can address most of the above gaps and make the initiative successful. Future scholars can dig further in an attempt to understand how CSR approaches can be reconsidered as part of a company’s business model strategy. They can also examine how community members can liaise with employees in an attempt to promote new practices that have the potential to deliver meaningful results and promote environmental sustainability.
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