Siena Parker joined Penguin Random House, the UK’s largest publisher, in the spring of 2015 as the company’s first ever corporate responsibility manager. With a strong mandate from CEO Tom Weldon, but no pre-existing strategy or goals, Siena’s first challenge was to unite the disparate CR activity in a way that helped to differentiate the brand and convince colleagues that CR was about more than charity fundraising and recycling.
Setting the Scene
Siena began the process with a materiality assessment, using an external stakeholder survey with a selection of authors, literary agents, customers and suppliers; a colleague survey and a consumer survey using a panel of over 2,000 readers to discover the issues that mattered most to stakeholders.The result was clear: creativity.
Using the output of the materiality assessment, Siena worked together with stakeholders across the business to develop the company’s 'Creative Responsibility' strategy.
Closing the creativity gap
An evolution beyond ‘Corporate Responsibility’, which had lost much of its currency for engagement within the organisation, ‘Creative Responsibility’ speaks to the heart of the business and addressing the creativity gap provides a core strategic focus.
Rooted in the inequalities of society, the creativity gap is the gap between having creative potential and being given the opportunity to achieve it.By focusing the strategy on helping to address that gap, Siena was able to bring together the four pillars of Reading, Diversity, Community and Sustainability in a way that was both meaningful and consistent with the values and culture of the business.
Achieving Rapid Social Impact
Delivering a manifesto for action
The Creative Responsibility Manifesto, which summarised the four pillars of the strategy and outlined ways in which employees could get involved with each, was launched in November by the CEO at an all staff briefing.
Siena then delivered some 35 + presentations to teams across the organisation, tailoring the messages to each team and exploring the details of the strategy and its relevance to colleagues working across the business in sales, distribution and publishing to name just a few.
Within a month of the launch of the Creative Responsibility Manifesto, ten percent of the workforce had signed up to play a part in one or more of the pillars – a figure that has since risen to 20 percent, far surpassing expectations of a workforce with around 50 percent shift workers.
Creating a Lasting Legacy
Use being ‘new’ as door opener
As a team of one, Siena has already made a big impact at Penguin Random House in her first 12 months. Her advice to anyone else starting in a new role is to use the fact that you’re new to have as many conversations as you can with as many people as possible.
Advice for Creating Positive Impact
“Being new to an organisation is a wonderful excuse to knock on doors and ask lots of questions, so take advantage of the opportunity while you can.”
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