An ‘HSE’ label in a primary menu raises bigger questions about how to handle online corporate responsibility material.
Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services company, has an ‘HSE’ section (health, safety and environment) on its website, which is signposted in the primary navigation menu. There are two sub-sections signposted in a dropdown panel – ‘HSE Management System’ and ‘HSE Policy Statement’.
In the section Schlumberger’s affirms its commitment to the ‘highest standards’ of safety for employees and customers and ‘the protection of the environment in the communities in which we live and work’. It appears to be pitched at B2B customers or investors checking Schlumberger’s HSE credentials, rather than, say, jobseekers or journalists looking to build up a picture of the company, although there is a link to ‘Global Stewardship’, the sustainability report microsite.
‘HSE’ as a primary navigation menu label is unusual among large corporate websites, but will likely be recognised within Schlumberger’s industry. On other corporate websites, specific information about data and processes – the type found in Schlumberger’s HSE section – is sometimes grouped with ‘Sustainability’ or ‘Environment’ or similar.
Softer material, eg stories about community initiatives or philanthropy, is sometimes found in these sections, and sometimes elsewhere. At Schlumberger, this type of content is housed in the ‘Global Stewardship’ microsite, signposted from the website, but otherwise kept in its silo. But the microsite also has data and information for professionals that would be useful on the website.
Schlumberger is not alone in its apparent uncertainty about how best to categorise and label CSR material. Broadly, we think dividing it into two sections can be effective – one with the hard data for the small but important audience of ‘CSR professionals’ and one for everyone else – jobseekers, customers, investors, etc – who want to find out if the company is ‘good’ or not. The second section needs to be signposted widely, and preferably housed on the website itself.
What to call these sections? ‘For CSR professionals’ has the virtue of being straightforward. Schlumberger will know whether ‘HSE’ is more appropriate for its industry. There probably isn’t one answer, but it is an interesting question for everyone.