Corporate understanding of the importance of social responsibility to business success has exploded. The benefits of pursuing a strategy of social responsibility are not only helpful to society, they are also tremendously valuable to a company’s image, culture, and employees.
Social responsibility typically refers to the idea that an organization should operate with the benefit of society in mind. Usually, initiatives aim is to impact one of four key areas:
- Environmental Responsibility
- Human Rights Responsibility
- Philanthropic Responsibility
- Economic Responsibility
Check out the benefits of pursuing a social responsibility strategy.
Developing Your Strategy
Today, businesses face extreme pressure, both from the public and governments to not only focus on their profit margins but also their impact on society. As such, more companies are every day developing social responsibility strategies. If you’re seeking to build your own strategy, the following are a few important tips to ensure its success:
1. Align your social responsibility strategy with your business strategy
Social responsibility initiatives should fall in line with a business’s core purpose and strategy. Creating this symbiotic relationship creates a natural sense of intuitiveness among consumers, employees, and governmental organizations. Instead of social responsibility initiatives feeling like forced marketing schemes, they’ll come off organic and natural.
For example, Patagonia markets and sells high-quality outdoor clothing, while on the social responsibility side, the company constantly pursues a more sustainable supply chain and donates to environmental causes to protect the natural areas its customers love.
2. Develop support from management at all levels
Employee engagement with social responsibility initiatives is critical. It’s important that people at every level within a company are involved in bringing these projects to life. Without the support of your employees, it’s difficult to develop a public brand image that associates your business with its societal impact.
3. Build a partnership with organizations or the local community
Developing partnerships, whether with the local community or other organizations, is an essential way to ensure your social responsibility initiatives truly make an impact. Nonprofits and NGOs specialize in improving different aspects of society, while the local community is always in tune with how it might be improved. For example, global fashion label Marc Jacobs partners with SATO, an organization that rescues abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico and finds loving homes for them. Can you say cute!
4. Develop effective communication
Just like it’s essential to ensure effective external communications for all marketing endeavors, the same applies to social responsibility. While the aim is to improve society, it is ok for an organization to receive communicate its initiatives, if only to bring awareness to an issue.
5. Identify opportunities
Establishing strong social responsibility credentials can create new opportunities in the long run. That might mean entering a new market segment, finding and developing niche products, or improving employee satisfaction (more on that coming up). We love how New Belgium Brewing Company, in concert with its sustainability efforts, helped its employees to use bicycles on company grounds.
Benefits Of Pursuing A Strategy Of Social Responsibility
There are many benefits to pursuing social responsibility. Three of our favorites include:
1. Improved Employee Satisfaction
It is now a common assumption that how a company interacts with its local community and environment is indicative of how it treats its employees. Talent acquisition can be boosted by developing thoughtful social responsibility initiatives. In addition, providing employees with the opportunity to volunteer during working hours builds a community connection and encourages work/life balance. Many companies, like Wells Fargo, provide multiple paid days off each year for their employees to volunteer.
Finally, having the chance to work and mingle with team members outside of the office strengthens relationships when at work. A friendlier office environment is a boon for employee satisfaction.
2. Improving public image and customer loyalty
Organizations that contribute to society’s improvement earn more and more exposure, acknowledgment, and praise. In turn, these efforts help build a positive brand identity that engenders consumer loyalty. Customers are most likely to stick with an organization with which they agree on its values and impact.
3. Increased creativity and innovation
The old adage is, when you stop fixating on a problem, you’ll suddenly come up with a solution. Employee creativity and innovation works the same way. When a workforce is engaged with its company outside the day-to-day slog of responsibility, creative juices flow more readily which can improve problem-solving and inventiveness. Furthermore, demonstrating company commitment to causes employees care about further incentives them to come up with solutions that will support a business’s ability to continue to impact society and the environment.
Develop and Improve Your Social Responsibility Strategy with Social Profit
Social Profit is a platform designed to increase social responsibility collaboration by connecting for-profit organizations with NGOs and nonprofits. If your company is seeking to improve its impact, Social Profit can connect you with other like-minded organizations to achieve your social responsibility goals.