HR, CSR and Clooney. Whoever would have thought these three words could go together in a sentence? Yet, for me, they actually do belong together, because somehow the film “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney got me thinking about CSR and how human resources (HR) is changing…No longer seen as a standalone personnel function, HR is now rightfully perceived as a key business function and “strategic partner”. Today, HR staffs are intricately involved in the business of the organization. In step with this trend, Nirit Cohen, Intel Israel HR Manager, and I had the opportunity to contribute to a fascinating book entitled, CSR for HR: A Necessary Partnership for Advancing Responsible Business Practices by Elaine Cohen. This book deals with a very hot topic and it is literally hot off the presses. Cohen describes her book as both a wake-up call and a toolkit; essential reading for managers in both HR and CSR. “HR professionals must wake up to CSR and start learning how to do things differently. It is my expectation that, once they do, they will materially affect business results in a more positive way, and reap personal and professional benefits, catapulting the HR function, perhaps for the first time, into one that all businesses understand is necessary for them to thrive through the long term and fulfill their overarching responsibilities.” What movies (and books) are made of Cohen interviewed Nirit about our HR/CSR philosophy. “My aim is that every employee at Intel Israel can honestly say: I believe in the company, I belong to the Intel team and I matter to the company and its success” said Nirit . Good example is the “Gradual Return from MLOA” program. It all started when we noticed women working in our manufacturing operation were not returning to their jobs at the end of their maternity leave. After discussing with mothers the reasons for their leaving Intel, we decided to offer mothers the opportunity to return to work gradually, rather than all at once. The Gradual Return from MLOA program allows mothers in the first year after giving birth to work part time. For the first three months after their maternity leave ends, mothers can work a 25%-time position and then for the next six months they can work at 50% of full time. Only at the end of one year do the mothers have to return to full time work. This is an excellent example of Intel HR policies that go beyond national labor regulations. This program is also a good example of CSR in the workforce – it promotes diversity and a work environment that enables women to flourish. A win-win situation for both employees and the employer… And for families, too. Now back to George Clooney… Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham’s journey in “Up in the Air” teaches us the importance of relationships and finding a balance between work and personal life. Intel’s HR and CSR philosophy and programs such as Gradual Return from MLOA are supporting employees in their own personal journey.
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