Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Tongue Twisted With CSR Job Titles

While the CSR debate has highlighted one key fact, and that is that it remains difficult to agree on a common definition of Corporate Social Responsibility, the definition of what employees do within this context may be even murkier. In the last few months I have met and gotten to know a number of  people who have a job where they  are involved in some way with a corporate program  focused on social responsibility, citizenship, philanthropy, community relations, employee volunteer programs and so on,  which arguably falls somewhere under the CSR or Corporate Citizenship umbrella.

A few of days ago I posted here on my blog my summary of the webinar hosted by the Boston College Center For Corporate Citizenship. With a twist of my tongue, I added and transformed their name to be Boston College Center for Corporate Community Citizenship. Thanks to Chris Jarvis for the correction of their name on his Realized Worth facebook page where he posted the link to my summary, and where I responded that I must have had "community"  on my mind. (which I always do, anyways). Aside from what tends to be on my mind, it's easy to get tongue twisted with all the various labels, descriptions and job titles within the whole CSR domain.  

As an example, here's just one job title I saw on the BCCCC website. A position that, well, seems to cover it all: "Director of Community Engagement Worldwide Community & Corporate Citizenship". Wow, try to say that one three times fast!

For more tongue twisting job titles check out the various postions held by the attendees of last year's BCCCC conference, people who are managers and directors of the following:

Business & Society Relations *Community Awareness *Community Engagement and Philanthropy *Community Investment & Volunteerism *Community Investment *Community Involvement *Community Outreach *Community Public Affairs *Community Relations *Community Responsibility *Community Service *Community Support * Corporate Citizenship & Community Relations *Corporate Citizenship *Corporate Community Affairs *Corporate Community Involvement *Corporate Community Relations *Corporate Community Support *Corporate Contributions *Corporate Partnerships *Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability *Corporate Responsibility and Analyst Relations *Corporate Responsibility *Corporate Social Responsibility *Corporate Sustainability *CSR & Community Relations *CSR Analyst *CSR Strategy & Reporting *Employee & Community Affairs *External Affairs *External Communications *Global Community Involvement  *Global Community Involvement/Special Events *Global Corporate Citizenship *Marketing & Corporate Citizenship * Community Liaison *Senior Corporate Volunteer Coordinator *Corporate Relations *Community Benefit, Research *Social Investing Program *Social Responsibility and Public Affairs *Stakeholder Relations * US Community Partnerships *Corporate Giving *Employee Volunteerism and many more....

Moving on from tongue twisting to meaning-what exactly might be the difference, let's say, between a corporate involvement manager and a corporate relations manager and a community awareness manager and how might they be interchangeable? Language creates meaning and a job title should reflect accurately what the person does and does not do. 

Forgive me for my ramblings. A couple of weeks ago my daughter got married, and my son, gave the bride and groom a toast. He said that he had been speaking to his future brother-in-law the night before who said to him: "Wow, tomorrow I am getting married, isn't it surreal?" My son replied, "eh, it's just a formality."

Similarly, the title of the position a person holds within an organization may be just a formality, but it can affect outcomes. Businesses, in general, often struggle with how to define the roles and responsibilities of an employee and how their job title or position reflects that. But for jobs under the Corporate Social Responsibility umbrella, a job title may be even more important. in that it reflects a purpose, a mission and a strategy.

This is a great opportunity for a business to define what its social mission, its purpose, and goals are and to help define the employee's role in the implementation of the mission and achievement of those goals.

And if you get their title right, maybe they will be able to say it three times really fast


Lavinia Weissman said...

My gosh, congratulations on your daughter's marriage. I still recall kids running around in circles and just being kids when you lived in Boston.

Whether giving is formal or informal, giving to be generous to do something that can make a difference is ultimately what matters.

Lalia Helmer said...

Hi Lavinia,
So great to connect, where are you?

Your comment is so very very true. Thank you for finding me and contributing to the discussion.

Aira Bongco said...

The problem is not so much on the title but on how people approach their job. Some stick to what they are used to doing that they forget that it is for the greater good.