5 ways to promote social responsibility in your business

5 Ways to Promote Social Responsibility in Your Business

Now more than ever, customers and employees are looking to companies for social responsibility. The days of surface level commitment are gone, and businesses and leaders are being held to a higher standard. So, being socially responsible is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. 

Before we dive into the 5 action items, let’s take a quick moment to define the meaning of this new buzzword. At the core, social responsibility is a reflection of what impact the business is having on the world around it. This can be environmentally, socially, and economically. Our businesses touch the society around us in a variety of ways. Taking a step back to reevaluate your role in society allows for the chance to take actions of significance. Although that in itself holds great importance, so does the accountability businesses and leaders are being held to. With movements like Greenpeace, Fashion Revolution, and Fair-trade act of 2001, people are demanding more from businesses, expanding beyond the 9-5 and into everyday life. 

The benefits of being a socially responsible company go beyond the obvious benefit to society, it also boosts company morale, increases internal comradery, and makes you a desired place to work. Now, let’s get to it. 5 ways you can become more socially responsible. 

  1. VOLUNTEER DAYS: These are days in which employees are paid per usual, but the day is dedicated to an organization or nonprofit as a form of giving back to the community. Your time could be given at a food shelf, animal shelter, nursing home, or even a youth center where your employees give back by sharing their skills and knowledge with the next generation. 

The frequency of volunteer days is up to you, but we have found it works best to be consistent. So if it is once a month or once a quarter, giving employees something to plan for and look forward to will yield positive results. 

To ease logistics some organizations even come set up at your facility. Nonprofits like FMSC have created “mobile pack events”, which allows for your team to create food packets that will be sent to malnourished people groups around the world with little to no set up work from you. You provide the space and the volunteers and they take care of the rest. 

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Evaluating your carbon footprint and implementing environmentally friendly daily practices shows great social responsibility. This could be switching to more fuel efficient delivery vehicles, starting a new recycling policy, or switching to solar energy. 

Possibly your business is not ready to make a huge leap. We understand. In that case, start with something simple like a new recycling policy, or a paperless office. New Belgium Brewing in Colorado offers incentives for their employees to ride bikes to work, decreasing their carbon footprint. Start small and grow from there. Even seemingly small things can create huge impact. 

  1. ETHICAL SUPPLY CHAIN: Being a socially conscious business means that you are not only responsible for maintaining standards inside your company but you also must be aware of the ethical standards of those you source from. Having an ethical supply chain means doing the extra work to be sure your suppliers are free of forced labor and are paying their workers a fair living wage. This also means checking to be sure they are adhering to environmental standards and provide transparency to prove it. An important item to note is that if concerns are found in your investigation of the supplier it is not always recommended that you immediately end your relationship with this company. Many suppliers are struggling to make ends meet in developing countries and simply cutting them off is not going to solve the ethical issue. Rather, best case scenario would be to work directly with the supplier on efforts towards closing the gaps that are a concern. This will help them to keep their employees who are in need of a job, and also allow them to become a sustainable business by having standards which they can show off to future partnerships, increasing their capacity and also your social responsibility. 
  1. MAKE A DIRECT CONTRIBUTION: Arguably this may be the most time saving yet effective way to impact the world around you. Nonprofits around the world survive off of donor money. They can not accomplish what needs to be done to create social change without the funds to hire the right people, rent an office space, even create a website, without the resources to make it happen. As someone coming from the nonprofit world, I can promise you that your direct contribution of resources can make a huge impact. And, I am not jut talking about making a tax deductible donation (although those are always welcomed). Care Portal, a nonprofit out of Kansas City, has developed an online platform that connects individuals and businesses who have resources to those who need them. Donating items like beds, cribs, and car seats provides resources to stabilize the environment of children and their caregivers both in birth families and foster care. That means the very thing your child may have just grown out of, could make a world of difference for the child down the street.  

FUEL YOUR PASSION. The truth is, we more passionate we feel about a particulate topic or people group, the more likely we are to continue pouring into it. Invite your team into the process. Create fun meetings around how you will give back and ways that the entire company can take an active role in increasing social responsibility. Set goals, and communicate frequently on your progress to achieving those goals. This strategy will create momentum that will go beyond a fun Friday and create a way of doing business that everyone an take part in and be excited about. 

Being socially responsible can feel overwhelming, but we encourage you to start small. Do something that works for you. In fact, reading this article was the first step in the right direction. We already know you are going to do something amazing and we can’t wait for the world to be changed for the better because of you!

How to create a mission driven business

How to Create a Mission Driven Business

People long for something to be passionate about. There is a constant desire inside of each of tus to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Throughout the years many companies have suppressed this amongst their staff, asking them to simply come in, work, and leave their personal agendas at the door. But over time, we have learned that in this pursuit of efficiency and increased productivity, the human spirit slowly deflates, erasing inspiration, motivation, and creativity. The very elements you originally hired those people for, and the very elements that will help your business thrive. 

If we can learn from our past, we can create a better future. Instead of suppressing these innate human desires, we can create an atmosphere that nurtures and develops this drive for purpose for both the individual and also the company as a whole. 

This all sounds pretty great huh? But how do we make it happen? Well, like all things in business, it starts at the top. If you are a leader, it is important to know what drives you. What moved you to start this business in the first place? By identifying the core values that make up the entrepreneurial spirit that is inside of you, you can identify the source of your mission. 

Are you someone that is in constant pursuit of justice? Are you driven by organization, strategy, and systems? Has your passion always been to make others feel at ease through kindness and humor? Whatever it is that makes you unique, tap into that and get below the surface, pulling out those key elements that are your DNA. Use this DNA as the foundation for your mission. Building upon this with the input of your team will bring unity and camaraderie throughout the workplace. 

Not sure where to go from here? Fear not. We have outlined some quick and effective ways on how to begin implementing this into your company or organization today. 

Create a mission statement. We know. This might seem cliche. But stick with us for a moment. The mission statement is what those internally and externally can expect for your company. It will serve as the cornerstone of your company that you and your team can reply on for direction. Before you say yes to a new contract, does it line up with your mission. Before you hire a new person, are they someone who can help push your mission forward? Your mission statement is the standard to which all decisions are held and the common thread that weaves throughout the company to create clarity and consistency.

Empower your people. Mission starts from the top but is carried out by the employees. They are the ones interacting with your customers each day, they know the daily obstacles and challenges the company is facing, and they are the ones who will ultimately carry out the mission. Help them to know they matter. Listen to their concerns. Implement their ideas. Include them in making important decisions about the direction of the company. Letting your team know they matter is not only the right thing to do, it is also what is best for the company. Watch employees turn from unmotivated and passive to engaged, invested, and energetic eager to come to work each day knowing they are an essential part of the business. This is something your customers will notice and want to be a part of. 

Be transparent: As leaders you have likely been taught to treat our staff like toddlers. Hide scary things from them. Keep the truth from them because they can not handle it, and do not share your real thoughts and feelings with them. But guess what? Your team is not made of toddlers. It is made of fully functioning adults complete with life experience, insight, and unique perspectives. Allowing yourself to be transparent with them will allow for open honest discussion that will help to eliminate gossip, confusion, assumptions, and general negativity. Leading with transparency means being honest about hardships but following up with solutions. The truth is whatever hardship your company is facing, your employees likely already know about it. And worse? They likely do not know the whole truth which leads to the desire to fill in the gap, meaning people will create their own conclusions in a desire to complete the story. Fill in those gaps for them with truth and honesty and then work together to find solutions. Your team will work harder in a desire to accomplish the goals at hand. 

A note to our beloved soloprenuers: Establishing your mission and purpose is equally as important, even if you do not have direct employees or staff. Use the steps below to help you identify the why, what, where, and WHY of your business and use this as an anchor when those inevitable waves of uncertainty try to knock over your boat. It can be easy to feel lost at times and wonder why you even started. Identifying and writing down your mission and purpose will help to remind you of the core of who you are as an individual and as a company.