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Making a successful ecological and social transition is a complex path, especially for multi-site companies, which have a network of local establishments to support.
To better understand the evolution of the company on CSR issues, from the elaboration of its CSR strategy to the deployment of its action plan, we conducted a study with several dozen CSR teams of multi-site companies from different sectors. Our study on the local issues of multi-site companies, which will be published in our next white paper(available right here!), enabled us to complete our analysis with concrete testimonies from the field.
Thanks to this study, we have identified 4 stages of CSR maturity for multi-site companies:
- Legitimize and structure: the blank page
- Diagnosing and framing: the notebook
- Planning and orchestrating: the roadmap
- Tracking and reporting: the model
In these different phases, the companies are distinguished by:
- The level of structuring of their CSR strategy
- Deployment of this CSR strategy locally
- Monitoring the company's overall CSR impact
In this article, we detail each of these phases from the headquarters and field points of view, which allows you to position yourself among these four stages of maturity, and thus discover concrete actions to implement to move to the next stage.
Maturity Stage 1: Legitimizing and structuring - the blank page
At the head office level, there is no structure adapted to the deployment and dissemination of CSR within the company. Neither budget nor team is provided in the financial and HR departments for the management of CSR projects. Thus, CSR only reaches the company thanks to certain recent regulations in different market sectors (AGEC Law for waste recycling, Climate and Resilience & Renewable Energy Law, Tertiary Decree for energy issues...) without any certain application locally, and with a risk of penal sanctions.
At the local level, since no impetus for change is provided by the head office, the sites are autonomous in this area. There is therefore an imbalance between the various sites, between those that are aware of CSR issues and those that do not spend any time on them. Employees who are less sensitive are not helped to integrate CSR into their jobs. As for the most sensitive ones, they move forward slowly because CSR requires a paradigm shift with all of the company's stakeholders (suppliers, customers, etc.).
At this stage, CSR actions are punctual and individual, and therefore only concern people who are sensitive to CSR issues.
The CEO of a multi-site company in the textile sector recently delivered:
"CSR is not a priority. For me, it's simply a new communication topic, because we no longer know what to communicate about.
For this company, the top management is not at all aware of the social and environmental issues and thus the whole company is penalized and blocked in the construction and deployment of its CSR policy.
- Develop your interest in and knowledge of CSR issues: CSR is evolving rapidly, so it is important to stay informed about new legislation and best practices in your sector (read articles on specialized blogs, follow CSR consultants on LinkedIn, participate in events such as the CSR Meetings - a quarterly event organized by Lakaa that brings together CSR managers from multi-site companies, the next edition will take place on February 16, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate!)
- Timing: Before accelerating to the structuring stage, make sure that management has the will to take the plunge, that the various departments will be receptive, and be in touch with a few local CSR champions to show the compatibility between performance and CSR. This can be done by organizing training sessions for the members of the management team.
- Unlock a budget: Estimate an initial budget related to recruiting and soliciting external assistance for the structuring stage.
- Recruiting a team in charge of its subjects: Internal promotion with employees from the field allows you to create a team with motivated employees who know the company's issues and businesses.
Maturity Stage 2: Diagnose and frame - the notebook
Some companies have structured themselves and have begun the process of diagnosing, defining and framing their CSR strategy.
At this stage, the group's CSR vision is in its infancy and has not yet been defined. The CSR team is often composed of one or two people. Often alone, it can be difficult for this small team to initiate a large-scale change without the support of external service providers. It mobilizes different types of potential actors to think along with it: management, heads of relevant departments, local champions, etc.
In concrete terms, some local sites are carrying out CSR actions independently. However, as in stage 1, the majority of employees, who are not aware of CSR issues, lack guidelines and precise objectives given by headquarters. The employees who are most active on these subjects lack consideration for their initiatives and often feel alone on the battlefield.
A store manager in the DIY industry told us:
"In our company, there is no known CSR pilot, few actions organized in the central office for the stores... Nevertheless, things are moving, we are moving up a gear in 2023.
- Take stock of what is already being done in the company, and which can be linked to CSR. The ISO 26000 standard is a useful reference. Indeed, it lists all the central issues of CSR.
- Make a first draft of the analysis of your stakeholders, i.e. list them, and think about their interests and expectations in terms of CSR.
- Qualify the areas of action thanks to the materiality analysis. The areas of action should be prioritized according to their level of importance (control and impact of the company on each identified area of action) and performance (ability of the company to comply with laws, standards, state of the art and best practices in its sector of activity).
On the basis of these three elements, a CSR strategy will take shape and can be formalized by the management, surrounded by the people who will lead this approach.
Maturity Stage 3: Plan and Orchestrate - the Roadmap
Some companies have a well-developed CSR strategy, but it is not yet translated into concrete and measurable actions within the various entities. The development of a concrete action plan and its management are essential components to disseminate CSR in each local entity of the company and to ensure that employees can carry out the group's strategy on a daily basis.
At this stage, the CSR team must convert its CSR strategy into an action plan and prepare its CSR governance within the entities. The involvement of employees who are experts in their field is essential. Indeed, their knowledge of the sector and the business allows them to set realistic objectives and relevant actions. The development of the action plan also allows us to measure the resources needed internally to implement the plan. The commitment of the governance is also strategic to ensure that the company has the means to achieve its ambitions.
Most of the field teams we met explain that the lack of time and information are their main obstacles to the implementation of CSR actions. Most of the time, corporate social responsibility is not a priority for local teams. It is still often a "side issue" to be dealt with in addition to their usual tasks. Local employees therefore need to be guided and accompanied to be effective in implementing these actions.
To address these issues, the Leroy Merlin CSR team decided to deploy the Lakaa platform:
"The Lakaa platform allows us to have a single tool to deal with all CSR issues. It creates a crossroads of interactions between the various stakeholders, and comes to facilitate the transition to action on the ground."
Agathe Ruckebusch, CSR Strategy Manager at Leroy Merlin.
To learn more, you can download the Leroy Merlin x Lakaa case study.
- Define and deploy your action plan: It allows you to set objectives for each key theme, very concrete actions to be deployed with their practical implementation guide (best practices, partners to be approached, regulations, etc.) and performance indicators to evaluate progress (see stage 4).
- Orchestrate and lead CSR locally: In particular, through the creation of a network of CSR ambassadors. These CSR ambassadors or referents are the armed wing of the CSR strategy at each site. They are responsible for collecting CSR data locally and for coordinating and monitoring CSR actions.
We organize every quarter Les Rencontres RSE, an event that welcomes CSR managers from multi-site companies around a theme and workshops led by the Lakaa team and CSR consultants. The next CSR Meetings will take place on February 16th and will be on the theme of networks of CSR ambassadors. Contact us directly at email@example.com to register or to learn more.
Maturity Stage 4: Track and Communicate - the model
Stage 4 companies precisely monitor the local progress of their action plan and promote it internally and even externally. These companies, still few in number today, have understood that CSR issues are a priority.
In these companies, the CSR team continues to involve and motivate local employees and at the same time develops a precise follow-up of the deployment of its action plan. In fact, reporting on all local actions that have taken place during the year makes it possible to highlight progress, support stagnant issues and communicate on common progress. The CSR departments of these companies are able to support their employees on CSR issues. This allows them to do "with" rather than "instead of".
In addition, the head office can focus on internal communication between the different sites, to ensure that the good practices achieved in one site can be duplicated in others.
Local sites are guided in the implementation of their actions. They know who to contact and can refer to them if they have any needs or questions. They have access to a database of information and concrete CSR actions to give them inspiration.
In addition, CSR is part of the various job descriptions of employees and they can be objectified on CSR, with bonuses, etc.
In February 2021, Lakaa will be deployed at Carmila (shopping center real estate company), to accelerate the deployment of the group's CSR strategy locally. Juliette Lefebvre, CSR project manager at the group, looks back at the impact the platform has had for Carmila:
"Before Lakaa, the CSR animation was limited to the census of local actions via a time-consuming annual form. Shopping center managers were given a long Excel spreadsheet that they had to take the time to fill in so that the CSR team could write the annual CSR report.
With Lakaa, local employees can list their daily good practices in a fun way and the head office has access to reliable and accurate data in real time. It can then use them for CSR reporting, but also to communicate internally and externally.
In addition to reporting, Lakaa helps create an emulation around CSR topics thanks to the sharing of best practices between centers."
To learn more, download the Carmila x Lakaa case study.
- Monitor the rate of adherence to your CSR strategy with a table for monitoring your action plan. In its simplest form, this is an Excel spreadsheet, but there are tools such as Lakaa that allow you to simplify and enrich the monitoring of your CSR strategy, by allowing each employee to take ownership of the subject.
- Communicating on the concrete progress made: internally, this makes it possible to inform, engage and motivate employees and to create a positive emulation around CSR. Externally, it allows the company to promote its commitments, to stand out from its competitors and to share best practices with stakeholders.
It is important for each company that wants to move to the next level in terms of CSR commitment, to evaluate its progress and identify the next actions to implement. We hope that this article has given you the desire to take action!
At Lakaa, we collaborate with many consultants and consulting firms in CSR specialized in the structuring of CSR strategies. If you wish to be put in touch with our partners, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To go further :
- The replay of the webinar: "Building a network of CSR ambassadors - Leroy Merlin & SGS"
- Our white paper: "All about local CSR issues
- The replay of the webinar: "Structuring your CSR strategy and mobilizing your entire network