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DHR Communications: CSR commitment an integral part of business model

DHR Logo

Business Type: Public Relations
Location: 80 Francis Street, Dublin 8
No. of Employees: 14

Mission Statement:
DHR Communications achieves excellence in client-service delivery through our strategic approach, our strong team and careful alignment of our clients’ needs to our own ethos and expertise. DHR works primarily on public interest issues.

CSR Initiatives:
At DHR Communications, we have chosen to make our CSR commitment an integral part of all our work. Our team shares a strong value system, which is reflected in our work in the Dublin 8 community and beyond.

Our business model – including the emphasis we place on CSR – helps us to deliver high-quality PR to organisations that might not otherwise have access to.

DHR has worked on ground-breaking human rights, mental health and equality campaigns over the last decade and has provided pro-bono support to a number of organisations.

Our current company-wide CSR programme/policy was developed in 2016 in consultation with all staff. It comprises of a number of different strands:
1. Making PR more accessible to groups and individuals with limited budgets.
2. Enhancing the local community (Dublin 8) in which the company is based, and beyond.
3. Facilitating employees to participate on voluntary boards and volunteer with not-for profit organisations they are passionate about with a view to them sharing their skills and expertise.
4. Being mindful of our impact on the environment.

In 2018, DHR staff spent over 600 hours working on CSR initiatives.

Project team: All staff

Resources required: Staff time; expenses covered by company.

Challenges: We needed to establish a log for all CSR requests / requests for pro-bono support as is not possible to work with everyone who gets in touch. We developed a system for evaluating each request in line with policy commitments and company resources. Off the back of this, we introduced bi-annual pro-bono training sessions for organisations primarily working in the NGO, advocacy and cultural sectors. These sessions focus on communications training, covering the areas of presentation skills, writing for media and social media.

Benefits / Outcomes: We believe CSR has multiple benefits. It allows employees develop new skills, meet new people and work on projects outside of their comfort zone. It opens up opportunities and allows us to facilitate collaboration and networking between clients from different sectors. Most importantly, it means we know we can provide support to charities, organisations and individuals to which we are deeply committed.

Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report? n/a

CSR Dimension:
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.
• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.

Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?

DHR is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business in the following ways:
• Continuously reducing our carbon footprint (walking, cycling or taking public transport to meetings wherever possible; supporting ‘Bike to Work’ scheme for staff etc.).
• Maximising the energy efficiency of our business (turning off lights and electrical equipment when not in use, sourcing energy efficient products for office etc.).
• Reducing, reusing and recycling our waste (operating a ‘paper free’ office in as far as possible; using recycled paper; encouraging all staff to recycle; providing silverware and glasses for employees to use for lunch time etc.).

At DHR, we have a keen sense of our location in the heart of The Liberties and are strongly committed to enhancing our local community in Dublin 8 and the surrounding areas to achieve their potential. We do this by:
• Providing PR support to a number of local groups - we draw on our experience in media relations, political communications and stakeholder engagement – and our knowledge of Dublin 8 – to promote a better image of The Liberties and work with local people to ensure the community achieves its full potential. We worked with our Francis Street neighbours, Cuckoo Events on the Liberties Festival 2018.
• Organising and delivering biannual pro-bono training sessions for organisations primarily working in the NGO, advocacy and cultural sectors. These sessions focus on communications training, covering the areas of presentation skills, writing for media and social media. Here is what some of our participants had to say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0H5erFoelk
• Membership of the Liberties Business Forum – DHR has been actively involved in the Forum since it was established in March 2014.

DHR CSR Taining Session

Our employees are at the heart of our company and we are committed to supporting them in the following ways:
• Providing a range of continuous training and professional development opportunities.
• Providing a weekly healthy fruit basket and breakfast items free-of-charge.
• Providing opportunities to engage in skills-based volunteer activities and ability to use work time to volunteer.
• Creating a culture of openness, transparency and equal opportunity.
• Rewarding excellent performance with positive recognition and remuneration.

One of the values underpinning DHR’s work is a commitment to high ethical standards. We do not work with any companies or agents that promote tobacco, alcohol or sugar. In fact, we tend to work primarily with organisations that are striving for positive societal change.We endeavour to engage sustainable suppliers.

Business Impact:
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?

Our clients often feedback to us that our strong value system and teamwork attracted them to work with us. They recognise that CSR is embedded in daily life in DHR and that we are well placed to identify CSR opportunities for them and / or to advise them on effectively communicating their CSR programmes. Through our pro-bono work and bi-annual pro-bono training sessions, we have connected with many not-for-profit organisations and helped them share their stories. Some of these connections have led to professional engagements.

Our CSR work has won a number of awards including the Chambers Ireland ‘Excellence in CSR by an SME’ award in 2015. We were also awarded for ‘Best CSR Programme’ in an Irish company at the National Awards for Excellence in Fundraising.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.

DHR works with a number of clients who incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their communications plans. The following SDGs apply to our CSR programme:
GOAL 3: Good health and well-being
GOAL 4: Quality education
GOAL 5: Gender equality
GOAL 8:Decent work and economic growth
GOAL 12:Responsible consumption and production
GOAL 15: Life on land
GOAL 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?

• Read all the advice and tips on CSRhub.ie - start small and set realistic goals and objectives. A lot of things you already do as a company may full under CSR practices so be sure to recognise your ongoing commitments and achievements and reflect this in your CSR policy/programme.
• Think outside the box and utilise your own resources. For example, instead of making a large donation to a charity, engage in pro-bono work. Encourage and facilitate staff to volunteer with not-for-profit organisations. Genuine engagement in CSR leads to a happier working environment and more fulfilled staff. We highly recommend it

Download a copy of the Case Study as a .pdf

Case Study provided by
DHR Communications
March 2019

DHR Staff

Above: Team at DHR Communications