Just as we choose to associate with good people in our lives, customers like to associate with good companies.
Being known as a socially responsible company is a great way to attract positive attention and make your employees proud to be part of your organization.
But before you can do this, it’s important to clearly define your company’s core values.
The definition of socially responsible companies
Investopedia defines corporate social responsibility as follows:
5 benefits of corporate social responsibility
The benefits of corporate social responsibility function on both an internal and external level.
Build your brand
Being socially responsible is a great way to build your brand and create a positive name. Factors like good will, trust, and an overall positive image are enhanced and developed through social responsibility. If you’re smart about it and you support the right type of business, it could also lead to co-branding and marketing opportunities.
Attract and retain top talent
A 2003 Stanford University study found that MBA graduates would sacrifice an average of $13,700 of their annual salary to work for a socially responsible company.
Customers love socially responsible companies
A survey conducted by Nielsen group found that 50% of consumers surveyed worldwide would be willing to pay more for goods and services from socially responsible companies.
The one caveat (and this is important for companies to remember) is that in countries where there is already some skepticism, the willingness to spend more is lower. This means that companies and the programs you’re implementing must be authentic.
In their 2016 book, Good Is The New Cool, Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones highlight the importance of authenticity, inclusiveness, and kindness in everything from company culture to marketing campaigns.
They want to contribute to something that makes a difference and that has a positive impact on the world.
It helps engage your employees
When you include your employees in larger processes and vision planning, such as designing and implementing a social responsibility program for your company, they’ll feel part of something bigger and more important than just their day-to-day tasks, and therefore they will be more engaged.
Generally, employees are most engaged when they feel part of a holistic entity rather than bound only to their respective role and tasks.
It keeps your company competitive
Choosing a unique position as a company and doing things differently from competitors helps your business stand out. This applies to all facts of business, including social responsibility. Your relationship with society is as important as your relationship with customers. Having a strong vision and connection to a cause that makes a positive impact and gives you a competitive advantage.
Socially responsible companies
There are plenty of socially responsible companies today, and one of my favorite examples is an organization called 1% For The Planet.
This organization connects businesses with non-profits, and it has compiled a huge directory of companies that donate 1% of their profits to charity.
Here are some examples of well-known companies that practice social responsibility:
Their #5by20 program empowers young women entrepreneurs. The plan is to bring 5 million women from the developing world into the company as bottlers or distributors. There is research that shows that this can have a multiplier effect, and create value for more than just those 5 million women.
Visa has partnered with several governments in the developing world to help offer financial solutions to those in need. Financial literacy is so important to advancing the lives of those in the developing world, and Visa is doing an amazing job to help.
Google is well known for their giving program, and has been recognized as the most socially responsible company in the “workplace” category from the Reputation Institute. Not many people know about the kind of socially responsible investments that they make as a company.
Microsoft has corporate responsibility really deeply rooted in its culture, and organizes hundreds of social events every year, and has surpassed over $1 Billion in employee donations over 30 years.
For every pair of shoes Toms sells, they give a pair to a child in need.They’re currently given over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need.
Patagonia’s mission statement is: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. They have awarded over $70 million in cash and donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups. However, their social awareness extends beyond the environment. You can read more about their very impressive impact here.
GSOFT’s core mission is to “make a positive impact on people’s lives at work.” Part of the way they do this is by creating a culture that is supportive of employees’ personal mission and causes. Last December, GSOFT offered to match all donations that employees’ had raised for their personal cause, 24hr Tremblant, a ski event that raised money for children in need.
Another example of GSOFT’s socially responsible mindset is their affiliation with Le Club Des Petits Déjeuners, in which employees spend a morning serving food to underprivileged children to ensure they are nourished and ready to learn. GSOFT also participates in the Dream Day at La Ronde, where employees take children from the St. Justine hospital for a fun day on the rides. It has been a poignant experience and one that’s in line with the company mission and culture.
How to build a socially responsible company
1. Choose a meaningful cause
If the nature of your company impacts or causes harm to a specific area, consider choosing a cause that helps improve that area. For example, if you print a magazine, perhaps a part of your proceeds can go to planting trees. Also, choose something that is meaningful to your team. Supporting something that you don’t connect with takes the fun, passion, and success out of the initiative.
2. Create an authentic socially responsible mission
Avoid one-time events or annual donations. Genuine social responsibility is an ongoing process that starts from within and extends outward—if you are going to do it, do it right!
3. Ingrain the mission into your company’s DNA
Every decision that’s made should address your mission so that it becomes part of the company culture, not just an outside initiative. It should be part of your company’s journey, not a standalone project. Whenever possible, think about how decisions might affect this cause or how new initiatives can include the mission into the planning.
4. Get employees involved and enthused
It is not only up to management to drive the initiatives that make your company socially responsible. Get the whole team involved and participating in the cause. You might set up an internal fundraising committee, for example, that allows employees to work hands-on with organizations to help give them a sense of ownership.
5. Offer employees time off to volunteer
The beauty of being a socially responsible organization is that you don’t necessarily need to spend money in order to be socially responsible. There are a lot of other cool ways that you can give back, such as with “volunteer time off” (VTO).
The idea here is to give employees a paid day off at least once a year to provide volunteer services, ideally for an organization of their choice.
Is your company socially responsible? Tell us about your great initiatives!Comments