17 Jan What CSR without responsibility towards the individual?
What social responsibility initiative can a company undertake when it fails to demonstrate individual responsibility towards one of its most crucial stakeholders – the employees? How would a company claim to pursue triple bottom lines when one of the Ps – the people – is not even understood, leave alone developed and grown? Why would a company be considered socially responsible when it chooses to down-size its workforce drastically for having not met its economic guidance for a couple of quarters?
Charity begins at home. Those who brag fashionably about ‘strategic gifting’, what gifts do they have to pleasantly surprise those who have mortgaged one third of their lives to the business – the employees? Be it socially conscious or not, most business organizations invest bare minimum in skilling and training their human ‘resources’ so that they can be more efficient machines. Rarely is an organization seen to invest in growth and development of these individuals, whose human potentials are exploited for wealth creation.
Individual growth is a conspicuous omission in social change initiative too. Despite history having repeatedly proven that no social change can be brought about and sustained without transformation at individual levels, for some mysterious reason, enabling individual awakening, transformation and evolution is hardly ever a part of a social change initiative. How can one imagine enlightening the future of girl child without working on hardened gender issues prevailing in individuals? How can one think about enhancing literacy with a huge proportion of so-called literate mass conducting themselves from a space of shrouded ignorance? Why would the poor, who is otherwise at peace with is poverty, listen to someone who is a stranger to himself and can be classified as being below-the-humanity-line?
It’s easy to donate blood and organs, gift a shoe for every shoe sold, to a poor child, rush aids to victims of natural calamity, plant trees on terraces of sky scrapers mechanistically. To do all this, you do not need a heart. You need a strategy to implement and communication machinery to tom-tom. You also know very well that none of this is going to impact the quality of life of your neighbors, for good. You do it to earn brownie points and comply with government mandates.
There is very little most companies can do otherwise. For a truly conscious, sustainable and socially responsible business is essentially supposed to be love-led and not fear-led. And how many organizations can claim that they are truly love-led? That they are driven and measured by human values; that inclusivity is a quality that naturally gets demonstrated as a practice of compassion; and that every individual, whether employee, supplier, customer, investor or a part of the impacted society is seen and supported as a unique power-house of potential creation waiting to sprout, flower and bear fruit?
It is quite possible that people as individuals are ignored and not included in sustainability programs because most companies do not know how to deal with and enable transformation at individual levels. However, if that is the case and if there is intent to help every individual attain sustained wealth, wisdom and well-being, there certainly would be enablers to take the mission forward.
What then is the cause for individual well-being, growth and evolution being grossly missed out? From the agenda of triple bottom line and CSR? Beyond making some perks available for gym and yoga, what are some of the so-called socially conscious and responsible companies doing to make individuals more self-knowing and self-managed? Why aren’t there any foundations or social enterprise to lift the machinist man from below-the-humanity-line, to manifest The Power Within?