How important is it for your organization to be socially responsible?
Being socially responsible can impact a company's image and build it brand. When positioned correctly to support your mission and business values it can also impact your local community via beneficial services and products. Answer the following questions:
- Is this an important part of a mission and vision? Why?
- What is your company doing to be socially responsible?
- Do you see this as a marketing ploy to attract top talent or increase your customer base?
- How do you promote corporate social responsibility?
I would tie social responsibility with reputation. My organization has earned a nice reputation by giving back to the community and some may say that it's social responsibility. It's at the heart of the principal of our firm and over time it has formed a very positive perception of the firm. So I think that social responsibility is inevitable, nearly a requirement to be socially accepted in business. In fact, most all conventions and conferences in the largest convention arenas now include a socially responsible component. Has it become a way of fitting in??
We’ve seen an uptick on this topic in the past 2 years from the employee and the public view. As we’ve employed more millennials, it’s quickly become a marking tool (if not an outright expectation) to be recognized as “good” employer. As a business, I believe the addition of social responsibility (via a score that is an important measurement for our industry to the public) has motivated our company to take a harder look at their efforts.
One of the companies I’ve worked for owned and operated Class-A commercial buildings. As such, there is a standard (LEED green certification) that is often pursued to measure our “carbon footprint”. This has an appeal to current and prospective tenants we wish to retain. However, more recently there is business case to include more emphasis on social responsibility to encompass employee-level initiatives. (Such as volunteerism and charitable donations.) Whereas our sustainability practices had been the driver of (external) industry ratings before, our business community is looking more closely at the opportunities employees have to give back to the community.
I believe it would be foolish to assume that most for-profit companies are motivated to support social responsible initiatives purely because it’s the “right thing to do”. However, to say it is a marketing ploy is probably a little extreme. The more likely scenario is that most businesses are going to focus on the direct efforts that contribute to their profit. However, as businesses are made up of humans with opinions, it is a good business decision to support social responsibility at some level. The degree to which it is emphasized (and acted on) is likely more of a cultural reflection of the management team, rather than a marketing ploy.
I promote these initiatives by looking for, and suggesting to management, a variety of opportunities to participate. I look for opportunities that require less disruption to the business as they are more likely to be successful. And, I regularly ask the employee population for feedback on what interests them.