Hello, my name's Sally Randles and I'm a Senior Research Fellow at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research of the Business School, here at the University of Manchester. And I'm joined today by and would you like to introduce yourself? >> I'm Lynn Prime and I'm a Freelance Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist, focusing in healthcare and science sectors. But my background, my career background was really principally in communications, probably about two thirds of my career has been spent in communications roles. After university, I moved into local government PR. And then from there, moved across to Manchester Airport Company, and worked in a managerial role again, within the communications department for a number of years. Then I moved sectors and started working for Astra Zeneca, a global pharmaceutical company, and that was my first CR role. And over the time that I worked for Astra Zeneca, I held a number of UK and global CSR roles. >> So Lynn, what do you think the important characteristics and skills and competencies of the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager? >> Well I think that the skills and competencies can vary, depending on what kind of business you work for and what kind of role you're doing. And obviously something like an environmentally focused role will demand technical skills and qualifications. But, the sort of role that I used to do and which was managing and developing community investment programs which would depend on my employee involvement. And I think it was much more around softer skills. So I think the first thing really I would say was about strategic thinking and being able to align CR activities to the business focus, in order to be able to make the most of business, the business's resources, skills, talent of employees, etc. And also to be able to understand how the business was changing and to be able to adapt programs to reflect this change in focus. I think another important skill was around project management. I think you have to be highly organized. I think you have to be good at planning and implementation across varied projects. You need to be able to work with, and very often lead, different teams, sometimes cross functional teams within a business or external teams. So that really kind of calls upon the ability to lead and influence and motivate people. A third area is around stakeholder management. To implement successful community investment programs, you've really gotta be able to develop relationships with people, to find the common ground, to build on the common ground. And develop the trust and relationships in order to be able to work together productively to meet your kind of program goals. Also, the programs I managed, as I said, required employee involvement. So part of my role was around planning and delivering formal communications to engage employees. The sort of communications tactics, finding what the news hook was, planning the right channels, implementing an integrated campaign to catch employees' attention and translate that attention into the sort of behaviors that were required, whether it was volunteering or fund raising. And then I think finally, I think you need be able understand what range of measures are required and evaluation techniques, because obviously it's important to be able to put those measures in place to understand how your programs are doing. Are they delivering the impacts that you want? And really, to feed this kind of cycle of continuous improvement by constantly measuring and evaluating. And making it a virtual circle of improvement. >> Lynn, when we think about the kinds of projects and initiatives and activities you do for a large multinational corporation like Astra Zeneca, can you give us some examples of practical activities and projects that you did? >> One of the key programs that I worked on when I was employed by Astra Zeneca was the Global Young Health Program. This was a program that focused on the primary prevention of noncommunicable diseases. So diseases like cancer, type II diabetes, heart and respiratory disease. This program sat very well within the company's business agreement of improving health. So the program started in 2010, and it was running in 18 countries. It was implemented with two external partners, and American University, which provide a research component to the program, and also a International Children's charity. Which helped along with Astra Zeneca markets to implement some of the underground programs. It focused on the risk factors that often lead to non communicable diseases in later life. So things like alcohol abuse, tobacco use, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating. And trying to address those so that those didn't become ingrained behaviors. >> That's really interesting Lynn. And how is it that a large company like Astra Zeneca with all it's money, functions, and the size, the number of employees. How does it translate it's values into policies? And how does it actually do that, in practice? >> Well, I think the corporate responsibility manager is just kind of one part of the jigsaw. But obviously, they are the person that is responsible for helping the company find its focus. What is the right area that would fit with the business purpose and where the business can obviously use its expertise and contact and knowledge to deliver benefits sustainable, and measurable benefits. So think their role is to help the company find that focus, and put in place the processes, and systems which drive that across the business. So for example, an action planning, setting care, helping, manages individual functional, manages to set KPIs for their regions and the whole reporting process. So I think very much the kind of the lynch pin that holds together the processes and the people that are kind of delivering the corporate responsibility outputs within the business functions. But obviously a key part of that is the endorsement from senior management. Having the policies and codes of conduct in place which ensure the employees globally act as the standards that are required of them. >> KPIs that's key performance indicators. Can you give us some examples of KPIs in your area of work? So for example, with the health program, when I worked on that, we expected our markets, local markets who were implementing local programs to report twice a year. And some of the standards were for example, the number of young people reached, the number of front line health care providers who were trained, the number of young people who were trained pass on the massage about adolescent health to other people. Those were the sorts of indicators, so very kind of hard, measurable, output related indicators. And that helped us to piece together the values that the program was providing in its entirety. >> That's really interesting, Lynn, about how the company works with its CSR role in terms of internal communications, and processes that you put in place to manage that, the processes and systems that you put in place. So what about if you like inside out, the different kinds of organizations that a company like Astra Zeneca would work with and how you decide which organizations to work with and prioritize your issues. How does that work in practice? >> Well I think the companies, large companies have a inevitably usually want to be transparent about their activities. So part of the corporate responsibility process is about reporting your activities to the external world and very often it tends to be part of the annual report. And the activity is also validated by an independent assurance body that would look at the evidence as being put forward and tested to understand whether it's right, whether it's robust, whether the outcomes are delivered against the targets that are being set. So, actually, there is confidence for, from an external stakeholder point of view, that what the company is saying is actually accurate and can be reported as such. And I think another way in which large companies can demonstrate their determination to improve on community issues in a sustainable way is by subscribing to particular indices and indexes for example, there isn't access to medicine in [INAUDIBLE], which I know was important for Astra Zeneca. So again, that's another way that a company can hold itself up to external scrutiny, and can be judged against its peers in terms of whether it's doing what it says it's doing, and how good it is in terms of what the market is delivering? >> So finally, thinking about the people watching this interview and watching this MOOC. What advice would you give for anyone thinking of going into the kind of career that you've been in, and what kind of things would they have to do to get into CSR? >> Well I think they need to think about what aspect of CSR they're most interested in. So whether it's the social, or the economic, or the [LAUGH] environmental legs of it. And I think particularly if it was say the environmental part that interests them, they would probably need to consider doing an environmentally related degree. Because obviously that's going to take more technical skills than something like the area that I worked in, which was more around the social part of CSR, the community investment, because that required more communication skills. But I do think a degree is a good starting point working for large company does give you a good over view of corporate responsibility of how it's implemented within an organization and the processes and systems that underpin it So I think that's a good place to be. Alternatively, you can think about working in an agency, which perhaps provides services, planning, research services to large organizations if they're thinking about setting up a particular project, for example. They might need some additional support or expertise. So that could be an opening, as well. But, the, I know that for example in the UK, there is a competency framework that's been developed, around CSR. And that's being implemented by the institute of corporate responsibility and sustainability. And that's not only to guide new starters within the profession. But also to help people as they track all the way through their career and really ensure that they continue with their professional development to make sure that they stay ahead of new trends and new developments within CSR. >> Lynn, that's really helpful and really interesting, thank you so much for your time today.