Is social responsibility within the HR Profession Idealistic?

What comes to your mind when you think of the HR professional? The CIPD would hope that you are thinking of someone being Principles-led, Evidence-based and Outcomes-driven, but is this too idealistic?

Many HR professionals see their role as ‘ethical stewards’ in challenging unethical organizational practice, however they do not always follow through in their actions because at the end of the day HR professionals are being paid by the business; performing tasks as and when required by the business and being influenced by the organizational context.

Despite this underpinning fact it does not mean that the HR professional cannot be mindful about their social and ethical responsibility. As a consequence, it rather makes their jobs more ‘meaningful’ as they should be using their knowledge for the good of society. By volunteering their professional skills such as communication, team-working and problem solving to individuals and charities they can help foster a social action movement which puts people at the heart of the future world of work.

So is social responsibility within the HR profession idealistic? As a HR professional I believe that it is not, as it is all based on our personal values and our professional identification with the HR profession. For the HR professional to be socially responsible those within it need to understand the underpinning values that make them professional and to know how and when to use it, whilst being mindful that how they act has an impact on society.

As a recognized CIPD Tutor I also foresee that a course on ‘The Social Responsibility of the HR profession’ is something that could benefit many people looking to enter the HR profession and those already in the profession. There is no harm in reiterating the values of the HR profession; there is every harm in having none.

On this endnote, I am calling on every HR professional to start embedding this approach into their position through positive change, value created for individuals, businesses, economies and society.


By Natasia Hieber, Principal Consultant

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Recruitment , Public Sector , Local Government , HR
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