Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


CSR for HR

November 2011

This guide brings together a range of issues central to the responsibility of business, one being the way it treats its workers.

Covering complex ground that ranges from diversity to communications, the book combines concise directives on most of the basic minimum requirements of a responsible HR policy, and an account of the various means of achieving them.  

There seem to be gaping holes, however: pay gets little more than a couple of passing mentions, and health and safety (as opposed to ‘wellbeing’) gets no coverage at all. It may well be that ‘the power of spirituality’ is becoming a motivating force in companies, but one suspects trade union rights, which are not discussed at all, are more on the mind of workers and bosses alike.

These oversights may be a consequence of the space given to the frankly irritating dialogues of the book’s two imaginary characters, Arena and Sharon. The book is constantly punctuated with the conversations of these HR execs, but precisely what they are adding is unclear: they do not expand on the issues under more conventional discussion, nor do they especially illuminate them in ‘practical’ terms. At best they break up the potentially dry talk of procedures. At worst they turn half the book into a very, very dull novel.

There are other confusing interjections in the book: boxes, charts and unannounced ‘features’ appear all over the place with barely a by-your-leave, causing a good deal of fragmentation in some of the arguments.

What should be a neat and helpful handbook is therefore turned into a slightly cumbersome and disorganised medley of ‘thoughts’ on the subject.

Ben Hickman
CSR for HR, by Elaine Cohen. Greenleaf Publishing, 2010. 314 pages. £24.95

Ben Hickman | UK & NI Ireland | CSR

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