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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become the key for corporations to fulfill their ethical and philanthropic duties by bringing value to the society, while respecting the natural environment.

The first time we encountered this issue was when we chose a CSR course as an elective at Universita della Svizzera italiana, during our Master studies. Apart from trending in academic environment, this topic is gaining particular importance in the freight industry, as buyers try to reach their company's corporate goals through the policy of the transport providers.

This fact shows the integral role that social responsibility plays in the supply chain as a whole. At a time when the freight industry's clock speed is running fast, we believe that special attention needs to be given to major trends in order for corporations to improve their performances in the field and therefore continue being competitive in the years to come.

First trend worth mentioning is the shift of CSR, from being voluntary to mandatory, as governments worldwide realize the need to legally engage corporations in developing transparent sustainability reports.

Furthermore, social media has not been exploited in its full potential as a communication tool. Many companies actually tend to overlook how helpful these channels could be for improving their interaction with the stakeholders concerning their CSR efforts. Last but not least collaboration, not only with suppliers and policymakers but also competitors, seems to be the key to achieve innovation and consequently greater efficiency. Sharing best practices within an industry, as well as building common standards, especially for reporting measurements, can result in better corporate performances, while providing stronger competitive advantages.

So how to continue engaging employees through CSR by using mentoring? Among other trends the one that truly has a significant impact in the general performance of every business is to increase employee engagement. It is well known, due to various studies, that CSR enables more efficient human resource management by retaining current employees, keeping their morale high and making them more productive.
Respect of human rights, enhancing working conditions, extra free time to allow employees engage to philanthropic causes are widely used methods by corporations to reach this high-end goal. A lot more alternatives can be used to engage employees and mentoring is definitely one that stands out - bridging the employee of today with the employee of tomorrow.

Mentoring could constitute a part of a strategy to attract new employees and the CreateTalent programme is a very good example of how this can actually work. The programme allows experts from different industries to meet and mentor the prospective employee, giving the opportunity for young individuals to get to know their industry better by sharing valuable thoughts on professional matters.

How CreateTalent makes the difference for the students involved?

As the mentorship programme is currently addressing Generation Y, the structure is based on the concept that the mentee takes full responsibility about the topics covered and the timing of the sessions. In this way the programme is tailored to meet the needs of the mentee with more flexibility. Another important aspect of the programme's success is that it takes place in the last semester before graduation, a
very crucial point for the students because of their need to take serious decisions regarding future career options.

Based on a relationship of trust this is the right time for mentors to give valuable guidelines to mentees in order to help them pursue the career they aspire by letting them join a new network of opportunities. The result from this experience would be measured for us in terms of gaining self- empowerment as future employees, getting a clearer idea of the career possibilities after finishing a Masters' degree and (why not?) become part of the mentor company's new work force.

An important takeaway from our mentoring sessions was that an interview with a recruiter is a win–win situation. A common mistake for the candidate is to align his profile and needs to what the company is looking for. In reality, the interview is a good occasion for the potential employee to understand whether the company is indeed a match for his expectations. Whereas from the side of the employer, it is important to see whether the candidate could fill the corporate requirement.

Talking from our personal experience with SWISS, being part of a fully customized mentorship programme with an airline professional definitely helps to gain insights and develop oneself beyond the basic curriculum of a Masters programme.

- Authors Alexandra Grammenou and Evgeniya Chernysheva are working on their Masters degrees in international tourism at the University of Lugano, Switzerland and are part of Create Talent's mentorship programme.



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