Communicating corporate social responsibility is a hands-on responsibility. Not something which can be done from your desk. Investing in communications is important because there are implications for the brand and reputation – for example, people are keen to join organizations that are purpose-led. In the 7th edition of the CSR Communications Series, Nayna Banerjee, Head – Marketing & Communications with Dun & Bradstreet shares her experiences with communicating CSR.
With over 2 decades of experience in marketing, communications and CSR, she has helped build brands through PR, social media and events. Working in matrix structures and with multi country responsibilities and reporting lines, Nayna has had the opportunity to manage the P&L for large team size and projects. A former Board member at Rabo India Finance Limited and currently a member of the Executive Committee at Dun & Bradstreet, India, CSR has been more than a job role for her. She is also a strong believe in Diversity and Inclusion and have had opportunities to work on projects and to chair the internal POSH Committee. Outside of work, she loves teaching and has been a visiting faculty at KC College, Xaviers Institute of Communications and SCORE, Mumbai.
This series invites CSR practitioners to share perspectives on the role of communication in showcasing the organization’s citizenship intentions, involving employees in driving social change and making a difference to employee engagement and the world.
1. How is CSR/sustainability defined by your organization? How important is CSR communications for your organization and why?
Inherently Generous is one of the few pillars we strongly believe in. CSR for us is not restricted to a regulatory requirement but something that the organization believes in.
2. How does your organization communicate CSR? What methods, channels and resources do you use?
Employees are our brand ambassadors when it comes to CSR and hence a lot of our work is recognized through word of mouth. Formally, we use Townhalls, newsletters, the intranet and emails and among other channels.
3. Is there a dedicated team or individual for this role? If yes, what skills do they have and what skills does your organization value most?
Yes, there is. Compassion leveled with analytical skills is required to understand that the program is working for us or not
4. Are there budgets allocated to CSR communications and to what kinds of activities does the organization invest most on?
No budgets separately for CSR communication.
5. What trends do you observe with CSR and related to communicating with internal stakeholders?
I think people like to work in a company which is socially responsible. Employees expect regular channel of communications on all areas related to social causes.
6. Share how CSR communications is practiced at your organization – who leads it, how is it organized and what are the principles you follow?
We believe providing a purpose to employees goes a long way in motivating people. We follow that principal in all CSR project that we undertake. We don’t believe in just giving grants, but we look for opportunities where our employees can be a part of all the projects. With this background we use top down involvement and communication for anything to do with CSR. Our senior management is the front runner for all the CSR work that we undertake, and we showcase there through townhalls, intranet, periodic newsletter among others.
7. Describe a campaign you are proud of, that resulted in business outcomes or impacted social goals?
Oxfam Trailwalker. We have developed these campaigns to encourage participation at the first. The second stage moved into preparation and third stage was motivation. We had 20 walkers last time doing 100 Kms walk and all of them manage to complete the walk within the stipulated 48 hours. The final stage was full of celebrations and recognition
8. What advice do you have for CSR practitioners to communicate effectively?
If you need employees to come forward and be a part of the CSR journey, then effective communication is a must
9. What advice do you have for those aspiring to join this evolving domain?
CSR communication required a lot of balancing. You would love to communicate when you have made a difference but there is a narrow line which can make that look arrogant. So, one must be compassionate and need to understand when to pull back.
10. How can organizations get better with CSR communications?
Let the work speak for itself. Let the volunteers or beneficiaries recognize and endorse the effort.
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