CSR measurements and evaluations
We advise and assist our clients to measure the effectiveness of their CSR strategy and CSR programs and the progress towards the CSR targets they set by developing a set of relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPI‘s) and by tracking them down in a systematic way.
Although the CSR KPI's will differ depending on the organization and on their ties with the strategy or the programs they are, in all instances, quantifiable financial and non financial measures, usually agreed right after the CSR strategy objectives and programs are defined. Their business relevance increases the more they reflect organization's CSR goals and the more they are specific to the CSR program goals they measure. Strong, strategic KPI's are usually long-term considerations, related to the CSR strategy. For such KPI's, the definition of what they are and how they are measured do not change often. CSR programs' effectiveness is also measured through KPI's with a shorter life, their existence ending once the project ends too.
Developing a list of KPIs is not difficult, but selecting the relevant ones and using them in an organizationally specific context can be challenging. We expect that KPI's offer us an objective, uniform and rigorous picture of the reality of the business. To serve this purpose:
- KPI's echo key drivers in the CSR area - they reflect and measure those CSR key activities that, when executed properly, guarantee future success.
- KPI's provide context - they put CSR performance in context by evaluating it according to set expectations.
- KPI's are inter-connected at all organizational levels - top level KPI's cascade throughout the organization, and the data captured by lower level KPIs integrate into corporate wide KPI's.
- KPI's are based on legitimate data - they are measurable and their regular metrics are obtained in an objective or standardized way
- KPI's are easy to understand - they have a simple definition, instructions on what is actually being measured, how it is being calculated, and what interpretation is given to their measurements. Basically, they are a set of performance metrics that everyone in the organization can relate to and agree to.
- KPI's are decided by management - they are endorsed by top management who ensure their bond with the long-term strategic direction of the organization.
- KPI's lead to action - their measurement assessed against selected benchmark or targets, determine the direction and the set of actions to be taken in order to get closer to the set expectations.
Good KPI's help to reduce the complex nature of CSR performance to a certain number of milestones, essential to the organization reaching its goals in the CSR area but also to identify gaps and room for future improvement. It is therefore important to keep the number of KPI's small just to keep everyone's attention focused on achieving the same KPIs. How many KPI's are enough to document the CSR performance differ depending on the type of business, nature of CSR programs, benchmark for the respective industry, specific focus for the respective CSR area.
When working with our clients, we pilot a process by which we analyze and narrow down lists of possible relevant KPI's based on the ISO 26000 CSR Standard, generated through industry specific norms and regulations research, discussions with the relevant client staff, benchmark of industry best practices, in order to obtain a "manageable" number of relevant indicators. Ultimately, the decision on the number of KPI's to be used stays with our clients, but we advise for a balance between few KPI's with a strong focus and many KPI's which cover a broader CSR scope.
Developing a monitoring/measurement tool for the KPI's is the last step of the process. We develop it as a self assessment tool. In this respect it consists of:
- a tailored methodology to measure the selected KPI's (whether they are reflecting corporate CSR goals or are linked to certain CSR projects), to compare them with set targets, to use the KPI's in a correct and progress driven manner, and to set required actions to ensure progress towards the set goals. The methodology is customized based on the specific management practices of the client organization, on the industry the company belongs to, on the size of the company and it will be also influenced by particular aspects revealed during discussions with the client.
- a handbook on self assessment practices
- a 1,5 day training for the future monitoring team.