Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become something of a buzz word in business over the past few years. Such initiatives take organisations beyond their legal duties and can see them contributing to projects which make a difference to society.
“88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.” *
In short, CSR is good for business and it’s good for the world around us.
It can be difficult though to see how to build on corporate social responsibility and keep the business on track too, especially if you are running a small business. But CSR has been shown to increase employee retention and job satisfaction, so it’s worth looking at ways to incorporate it into a business plan.
Here are five simple tips to use CSR:
1. Let your employees choose or lead on your CSR involvement
It’s empowering to be asked your opinion. It’s also rewarding to know that you are helping causes you care about. Employees may already be involved in charities and causes outside of work and will value the chance to continue this support. It also offers team leaders an insight into employees outside interests.
2. Think local, instead of global
There’s a lot to be said for supporting a local cause. Your team is likely to be more motivated to know the organisation is supporting something where they can see the difference, rather than going into a bigger pot. It also means that you’re more likely to find something which is close to the hearts of many more employees as they can really identify with the issues and see the end results.
3. Make sure that senior team members are visible
CSR programmes that are entered half-heartedly don’t work and risk the possibility of clients and customers thinking that the initiative is simply a marketing ploy. By showing that every single member of the team is involved demonstrates commitment. This message is also important to staff as well; seeing senior staff contributing too will show that it’s a level playing field.
4. Shout about it!
The success of a CSR project is something to be proud of, so make sure you share your news far and wide. This pride in the initiative will pass to employees too and they will be encouraged to spread the word in turn. Naturally, it’s also great for the causes you’re supporting.
5. Communicate the impact internally
You will want to make a difference; that’s why your business is taking prioritising corporate social responsibility in the first place. Ensure that you have some strong markers in place to show the impact of the work so that progress can be shared with employees. A CSR initiative should never be just a tick box exercise so consider regular updates which can be used as an incentive when an extra boost is needed.
At Enterprise Exchange, we also have a management development programme where we train managers to become mentors to individuals in the local community who need support, advice and encouragement to start their own business. These individuals include offenders, ex-offenders, long term unemployed, people with mental health issues, people with disabilities and lone parents. More details can be found here, or please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.
Sources: Simply CSR, Forbes, The Borgen Project