Over the last few years, we’ve worked with organisations, large and small, discussing ways in which they can have more of an impact in their communities by improving their ‘social good’ strategy and activities.
Is your corporate social responsibility included in your business strategy?
Some businesses are still suffering from the historic ways of CSR (corporate social responsibility) , where a policy was created, a box was ticked and someone in HR was left to deal with it.
In every case, the reason why their CSR doesn’t work never has anything to do with the poor guy from HR or the fact that the staff haven’t done enough by way of charitable giving. Rather, it comes down to one simple element – one that many companies, HR departments and marketing departments miss:
How seriously does the team at the top believe that creating a social good strategy – carrying out activities to achieve your strategy, measuring and communicating the outcomes – is the right thing to do?
We are not talking about rocking up to a charity event every year and ‘doing your bit’.
We mean full-blown accountability from start to finish. Creating a strategy that aligns with your business purpose. Engaging with your teams to get their views and start working towards a common cause, deliver the activities, have it on the agenda for every board meeting/strategy meeting, measure the impact – and communicate.
We know it’s not easy with the huge to-do list that you have in front of you; you have pressure to grow the business in addition to your recruitment challenges.
What would happen if you went ‘all-in’ with your social good activity?
Imagine if you did start to include ‘social good’ as part of your own plans, give it the focus it needs and go all in…?
Companies with a strong reputation are those that have purpose.
In a recent survey by Deloitte, millennial workers were asked what the primary purpose of business should be – 63%more of them said “improving society’ than ‘generating profit”.
Today, many businesses just like yours make it their mission to do good!
Social responsibility, beyond making the world a better place. also benefits your company in ways you might not have imagined.
Customers are willing to put their money where their heart is when it comes to purchasing goods and services from companies committed to social responsibility.
“Customers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is one of the top factors that influence purchase decisions,” said Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability company, Nielson. “This behaviour is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands.”
What about improving customer trust? Commendable strategies improve trust; this is about being authentic about showing that you are a company that believes it can make a difference and will take its staff and customers on that journey.
If you go the extra mile and show that you care about more than the financial bottom line. That you are willing to adjust your business strategies to positively impact society and the environment. You will be rewarded – not just by the impact you make on those who need it most, but by your business colleagues, staff, customers and suppliers.
The most important benefit of having a truly authentic social responsibility strategy is TRUST.
IF you do the right thing socially then your customers and staff, future customers and staff will feel they can trust you to do the right thing in all situations.
In addition, when a customer purchases your product or service they feel they are personally contributing to your cause.
When the social responsibility efforts of your business become part of the company culture, people take notice.
- Related content: 3 Reasons to incorporate social good strategies into your business.
Businesses that are getting it right…
TOMS® is known for the business model of providing a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair of shoes they sell.
As admirable as that goal is, their passion for human rights goes well beyond that. They also partner with a number of charitable organisations to demonstrate ethical behaviour. TOMS® now also helps to restore visually-impaired individuals, provides clean drinking water and builds businesses in developing countries
DELL now contributes to environmental management by shipping their laptops in less wasteful containers using more eco-friendly markets
STARBUCKS is hiring 25,000 veterans before the year 2025 as part of their mission to be a socially responsible company
- Related content: Secrets of a successful business and not-for-profit partnership.
So what can you do, how can you go all in?
Here are some suggestions to help get you started…
1. Consider your brand and purpose
What do you do and who do you help? What does your organisation stand for?
2. Look at the Sustainable Development Goals
Choose a goal and target to focus on for the next three years. Focus your attention, don’t spread yourself too thin. Once you have clarity on the cause stick to supporting one or two organisations who fit the criteria. This will help you to have an impact.
3. Involve your team
Engage them in a workshop to choose the goal that will be your focus and that will deliver a positive change to society.
4. Agree on the activities you will deliver
There are lots of activities you could engage in, such as:
- Making financial donations to charities aligned to your cause.
- Inviting customers to make a donation to your chosen charity.
- Considering ‘social hiring’ employ individuals who have experienced personal challenges (such as poverty, neglect, war trauma).
- Giving them an opportunity to work as part of your team.
- Fundraising events on behalf of your chosen organisations.
- Sharing time: offer volunteer hours to your team.
5. Become an ambassador for the cause you have chosen
You could tell others about the work and share how they can help. Using suppliers who have a ‘social mission’ or sponsoring a project or event that is aligned with your chosen cause could work too.
6. Deliver your chosen activities
Get the team involved, keep track of who is doing what.
7. Measure the impact of your work
Who did you help, how did you help them, what difference was made.
8. Agree Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Have social responsibility on your agenda at every management meeting. Keep it at the top of hearts and minds.
9. Review your activity
What did you do well? What would you change? How can you make a bigger impact?
10. Communicate your impact
Create an annual impact report that can be shared with staff, customers and the wider community.
11. Set targets and measure the benefit to your business
Do you have engaged staff, loyal customers, increased sales and better quality recruitment applicants?
Finally… celebrate being a business with a social purpose!
So, are you ready to go all in? If you are, then you’ll quickly find that its the best thing you have ever done.
Not sure where to start? Do you need help? Contact Caroline at email@example.com.