How to create a CSE Strategy
1. Define the concept
CSE can mean many different things to different people. It depends on someone’s culture and past experiences with CSR that often determines their opinion and definition of it. It is worthwhile elaborating what CSE is and how it differs from CSR.
It’s important to speak to and understand all stakeholders’ concerns; leadership, employees, consumers, professional organizations or unions, local communities, or environmental groups. Once any concerns are understood, identify where there is a match, and how a CSE program can address these.
Define or redefine what CSE means to the business, and make sure the entire business is on the same page. Once you know everyone understands what CSE is, then it’s time to start discussing it without bias or misconceptions.
2. Understand the benefits for social
Before your CSE strategy can begin it needs approval from the organisation’s internal stakeholders. It’s important to spend a lot of time researching the benefits CSE will bring and find some example businesses that have profited from having a successful CSE plan in place. Once an idea of the ways you can benefit from CSE, this will help guide the business case to one that is more specific for your business.
3. Get project approval
Launching a CSE plan does require a certain amount of budget and human resources from the business. Put together a business case for implementing a CSE strategy and make sure to include all of the potential benefits a unique CSE initiative can bring to the business. The business case doesn’t need to include the initiative or the tools and people needed to create success. It needs to be broader, cover what CSE can do for your business, and the initial resources required to kick the project off.
4. Set project goals
To implement and launch a CSE plan requires goal setting. These goals and KPIs showcase your strategy is positively impacting your business, and that your CSE project is on track.
In the early stages, they can be anything from winning board member buy-in, to having 100% of employees understand what CSE is. Further down the line, they can be more KPI-orientated like employee engagement rates, online brand sentiment, or lower customer churn. All of these goals are designed around making progress to launching CSE.
5. Run a current CSR analysis
A current analysis includes a full review of any CSR initiative you currently have running, be it officially or unofficially, within the company.
Employees may have set up their form of a socially responsible initiative that can be something bigger with new support from the company. For example, fundraisers like bake sales, community running groups, volunteering days, in-office recycling, meat-free Fridays, or eliminating single-use plastics. Can any of these be the starting point for a CSE project?
If you’ve been hosting CSR initiatives for a while, but they just haven’t been taking off, then look at the project tools and communication styles being used to support it. Perhaps there are some operational changes to the cause you can introduce to help it run smoother and potentially evolve to CSE.
Identify what may be the problem with the current solutions you have and find new ways to approach the problem. Look at all of your current areas of CSR and note what you currently have. Bring these pieces together to identify if they can form part of your CSE strategy – so that they connect to what your employees are interested in and the broader business strategy, including long-term goals.
6. Research CSE initiatives
You have the benefits of what CSE can bring to the business, and you’ve won company buy-in, now it’s time to find an initiative. This stage includes researching social and environmental initiatives you think will be a good fit for the company’s mission and vision and those that answer employees’ values. You also know your business’ core services and products, skills and capabilities.
Corporate Social Entrepreneurship research also includes looking at the initiatives of others in your industry. How are other businesses aligning CSE to their company purpose? It could inspire some great ideas or possible collaborations of your own.
What not for profit organisations are in your community, or have missions which align with your business services or products. Engage with not for profit or social enterprises and see if there is opportunity to collaborate to solve a societal issue.
Lastly, this step includes different tools you may need to support your CSE efforts. Consider technology that empowers your employees to take the initiative and communication tools to help stay on top of everything.
Some additional materials to support Creating a CSE Strategy
- Systems Thinking: Understanding Sustainability (Free Open University Course)
- Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility – Introducing a Strategy Framework (Free Open University Course)
- Ethics & CSR (Free Open University Course)