In this day and age, achieving success in business is about more than just having a healthy bottom line. You also need to be a socially responsible company that takes an active interest in the social issues affecting the community in which you operate.
That way, you’ll build a reputation as a reliable, trustworthy and reputable brand. The best part is that modern-day business owners have the option to choose between the following four pillars of corporate social responsibility to base their programs on in away that will benefit both the company and the community as a whole.
1. Philanthropic Efforts
Some of the world’s most successful companies are committed to philanthropy for the betterment of the broader community. For example, Microsoft is closely aligned with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose aim is to make technology more accessible to different communities around the globe. This way, Microsoft is helping to cultivate a future generation that will be able to comprehend technology well enough to continue its improvement.
If you run a small company, your philanthropic efforts don’t have to be as large in scale as Microsoft’s. Many local supermarkets sponsor the sports teams of local schools, while restaurants can organise and host fundraising events to support local charities. Not only are such initiatives good for the community, but they’re also good for the company image because they bring awareness to the brand.
2. Environmental Conservation
Providing aid in times of disaster and contributing to environmental conservation are also viable forms of corporate social responsibility. These two acts also help to reduce the company’s carbon footprint (and sometimes even the energy bill!), while helping people in need. Some good examples of this are MassMutual and Budweiser’s highly promoted 2017 ads, which came in aid of raising awareness and funds for the victims of natural disasters that rocked parts of America that year.
On the local front, businesses can help out by sponsoring food drives, soup kitchens, and emergency campaigns. Meanwhile, you can reduce your carbon footprint by recycling office paper, committing to the use of eco-friendly lights, and limiting the use of plastic utensils. Small steps like these can build your profile as a socially responsible company.
3. Company Diversity
As a responsible business leader, it’s important to acknowledge the need for diversity in your company and be sure to do it right so that everyone feels included.
You should have overarching labor policies that apply to everyone in order to avoid Harvey Weinstein-like scenarios where higher ranked employees take advantage of junior workers through acts of sexual harassment etc. These are serious issues with huge consequences for any company. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your company policies are in line with the latest movement in equality and diversity, and take consistent action in implementing those policies.
You should also have stringent protocols that govern what should happen if violations or complaints of any kind are lodged. That way, you’ll be able to maintain a harmonious and productive workplace by keeping high morale while building a reputation as a good company that takes care of its employees.
4. Volunteering Commitments
The reality is that there will always be a charity or a segment of your local community that needs help. Therefore, it’s important for companies to step up and roll up their sleeves when it comes to developing the local community, as that’ll help them build a good business reputation.
There are numerous ways to do this, from giving your employees paid leave to specifically help out at a local charity or initiating a drive to solve the homelessness situation in the community. By specifically putting aside time to contribute to your local community, you will build a reputation as a business that truly cares about the community and not just their bottom line.
Which Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy is the Right One for Your Company?
Whether you’re still putting together a CSR strategy or you’re looking at boosting your current one, there are a few options available to help you achieve your goals of being a more socially responsible business. There are mainly three types of CSR strategies; namely, customer-driven, compliance-driven, and operations-driven.
• Operations-Driven CSR Strategy
The key to implementing an operations-driven CSR strategy is to become a leader in facing issues that affect the success of the goods and services that the company offers.
As such, this strategy involves being an innovative player and taking strategic actions to not only improve your company’s reputation but that of your partners’ as well, because when they look good your company looks good too.
For instance, let’s say that you’re an electric utility provider who recognises that environmental destruction has a direct impact on your company’s ability to generate electricity which is at the core of what you do.
In this case, it would be a good idea to shift your CSR strategy to have a “greener” approach that focuses on introducing environmentally conscious goals and activities that are geared towards reducing your emissions while maintaining competitiveness. If this sounds like something that you should focus on, consider investing in alternative energy sources and actively working towards a greener approach in your operations.
• Compliance-Driven CSR Strategy
A compliance-driven strategy is all about earning CSR brownie points by ensuring continued and diligent compliance in a wide range of areas, from health and safety (EHS), environmental friendliness, product quality, overall safety and getting the right equipment certifications.
Usually, companies that apply this strategy are involved in the development and production of products and services that necessitate compliance throughout the manufacturing process.
The great thing about this CSR strategy is that it enables businesses to consistently create products that are safe and of high quality, while simultaneously managing risks and setting the bar high for the assessment of their products and services.
• Customer-Driven CSR Strategy
A customer-driven CSR strategy is all about satisfying the customer by studying customer behaviour and perspectives. That’s why it’s so relevant for companies whose operations are directly linked to the community or enterprises that sell directly to the customer.
Most of the time, customer-driven CSR strategies focus a lot of community involvement through volunteering, philanthropy and other initiatives that show the company’s commitment to community development.
Said company may also choose to publicly report on how much of its annual income actually goes towards the community while showing the social development initiatives that they’ve been a part of.