How Do You Make CSR Make Sense?

Published: May 11, 2011


After discussing her career path, Suzanne Fallender, director of strategy and communications for Intel's Global Corporate Responsibility office, switched gears. How do organizations ensure that corporate social responsibility permeates every functional aspect (HR, communications, corporate finance, supply chain, technology, operations, legal, etc.) and makes sense to employees regardless of their primary job responsibilities?

Defining CSR

…for HR and Talent Management

HR has been a strong partner with the CSR team for a long time at Intel.

I see their job as core to our CSR performance, given the critical importance of employees to our ability to innovate and be successful. From diversity to our Great Place to Work programs, HR is crticial to the Intel culture. Also, we are a very data-driven company, so HR has a history of making sure we have in-depth surveys of employees identifying how we can improve employee satisfaction and engagement over time.

We also have a very robust volunteer program called Intel Involved which is managed by our corporate affairs group. HR plays a crucial support role in this as well. For example, two years ago, we rolled out an initiative for our 40th anniversary to log one million volunteer hours at local schools instead of throwing a party or giving people key chains. Our previous goal had been about 500,000 hours.

And we ended up logging 1.3 million hours with the partnership with HR.


One thing we have internally that really works for us is a very robust blogosphere and use of social media internally. With 80,000 people around the world, our internal social media tools have helped connect our employees with each other and with our executives. For example, we have a site and internal community where employees can share ideas on sustainability projects and initiatives.

…Getting Hired

What I tell everyone on the job front is that there are so many different paths in CSR that it's difficult to narrow down a CSR job per se. You have to be creative and you also have to understand how the company is structured to even find some of the listings.

Equally important is that many times CSR jobs aren't listed externally. There are so many people in companies today that want sustainability jobs who are already company veterans. That happens for us quite a bit; we don't often list all these positions externally because there's such high demand internally.

[Watch this space for more tips on job hunting in CSR and sustainability from Fallender]

…Alignment with Business Values

Our global strategy includes CSR as one of oure strategic objectives and we continue to look for oppotunties to drive strategic alignment of our CSR activities. I've been talking with some other companies who are working on this as well and have been doing some best-practice benchmarking. We are also working with other companies on key issues like the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition to address supply chain responsibility and the issue of conflict minerals, to collaborating with Microsoft and Cisco around our education programs.

We're not aiming to do everything ourselves. We look at it by issue and then partner with the companies that are doing great stuff in the area.

If you look at the range of issues we are working on, it becomes clearer that we're doing it because we believe there's both business and societal values to be created.

Next: How Do You Get Hired in CSR?

A CSR Executive's Career Path