Making our job into a profession
I joined the governing board of the newly established Corporate Responsibility Officers Association almost two years ago because I have a strong interest in exploring, and hopefully more firmly establishing the role of the practitioner. We created a committee for professional development with colleagues from Capaccio, Cisco, Crowe Horwath, Hess Oil, Molson Coors and Shared Expertise, which I have been chairing. With the help of an extended list of supportive members we explored the components that make up a profession and determined that we would focus initially on three areas (1) job descriptions (2) competencies and (3) an ethics code.
The committee has just published its first substantive piece of work, a Guidebook on Structuring and Staffing Corporate Responsibility. Readers of my blog can download it for free here (in fact anyone can, I just like being able to say that!) It includes job descriptions for a range of roles, describes the main competencies for the roles and discusses different organizational types for CR departments. It also includes some different perspectives on CR.
A few personal observations from the work of compiling the manual;
- There are multiple views of the field, making the task of compiling a guidebook a challenging one. Rather than try to define a single role we described the range of roles that between the committee and other participating members captured the broad range of approaches.
- The different views reflected differences between industry verticals and to some extent differences in philosophy on CR. Encouragingly though there was nothing anyone wanted to include that anyone else wanted to exclude, only an expansion of horizons !
- In taking this expansive approach we certainly did not conclude debate on what it means to be a CR practitioner, but I hope we contributed to defining the boundaries and to furthering of the debate.
I am looking forward to the next steps of a deeper dive into the competencies and, my particular passion, trying to define an ethics code for practitioners!
Please take a look at the guidebook – I hope you find it a useful tool. The many of us who contributed to it would welcome your comments.