Now more than ever companies have become aware of the importance of being a socially and environmentally responsible in all their practices. Much of this is in response to newer workforce and consumer generations, which are more concerned about the impact their actions and purchases have on a local and global scale than previous generations were.
But what exactly makes a socially conscious business? There are various ways to be socially conscious, some of which have a greater impact than others. While donating monetary resources has long been one of most traditional ways of giving back; this isn’t cutting it anymore. Especially as individual employees and consumers don’t necessarily identify as strongly with this type of giving.
Corporate social responsibility has become not only a way to make a business more sustainable, but also to make it more attractive for workers. Individuals like to be involved, they want to take an active role in helping, in giving back, and that usually goes way beyond the writing of a check.
Instead of thinking only about monetary aid, think of all the different ways in which your company and your workers can give back. Today’s problems require a lot more than money, they require resources such as time, ideas, knowledge, and training. For your business to be successfully socially conscious, it also needs to have realistic and measurable goals. While we would all like to take on global issues, fact is, we can’t. At least not alone.
One good way to be a socially conscious business is to give back to your local community, to local charities, and to participate in local events. After all, where you are based is where you need to create the best impact possible. And while you are at this, involve your employees; some of them might already have a relationship with organizations and charities in the area; start from within and expand from there. And offer incentives.
Say for example if the marketing department reaches its goals and more, you can donate the money and give the team time-off to help at an event. The key part is for the company and the team to be actively involved in these activities. Much about helping is about understanding what it is that truly needs to be done, and the best way to do this is to have conversations with the people facing these challenges and problems, by interacting with them, and by being empathetic.
And if you are ready to take it to the next level, seek out other businesses or organizations that have a mission aligned to yours and are interested in the same causes. This will take your impact from a local level to a regional or even national one.
For the efforts to work, you have to motivate your team and inspire them; change must always first start from within. Becoming more socially responsible will not only give you tax exemptions, but it will also create a stronger bond among clients or consumers, and more importantly it will lead to happier employees, which translates into increased productivity and increased retention rates.