Company roles, responsibilities, and skills in Community Involvement

A number of different departments can run Community Involvement, including Communications, Marketing, HR, Corporate Responsibility, Public Affairs, Business Development. All will bring value to the business, however, none are without potential shortcomings. Be aware of what these may be and have plans to address them.

When recruiting or building a community team, you will find excellent practitioners hail from all sorts of places – both within the business in departments mentioned above, or from external agencies specializing in these areas, from government departments, or from NGOs. Look for the right character and personality, passion, motivation and ‘soft skills’ more than previous operational experience.

When deciding who should manage the company’s Community Involvement, first address the question of governance, in particular:

·         Who has overall responsibility for it? Do you have a board-level sponsor?

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Then give someone (or several people) objectives-based, performance-related responsibility for managing the company’s contributions to the community.

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Make sure they can get access to budget.  

·         If yours is a multinational company, clearly define the role of the Head Office and that of the community teams in the country offices. In terms of roles and responsibilities, this touches on who is responsible for developing strategy; leading and rolling out projects; building the company’s and individuals’ skills in Community Involvement. It also touches upon who leads and organizes and who contributes to monitoring and reporting, and to undertaking internal and external communications.

·         Being clear about roles and responsibilities is esspecially important when multiple business units of your company are active in the same country or region – avoid a doubling of or conflicting efforts – or a watering down because nobody feels responsible.

·         For ongoing learning, regularly bring Community Involvement Managers and Specialists together from across the organization to share best practice and learn from each other. Also involve NGO partners and inspiring external speakers from different parts of society.

Do not stop developing people. When considering Learning & Development for yourself and/or your community staff, there are a number of different resources you can call on – from specialist individuals and agencies to Corporate Responsibility associations and even leading international business schools.