Companies hoping to prosper in the years to come need to start jumping on the trend of taking corporate responsibility seriously.
There are two forces driving the speed with which corporations and organizations are trying to show that they really do care about more than their bottom line.
The first is the push by consumers who are tired of seeing the corporations they do business with being overly self-interested. In a study by Landor Associates, more than three quarters of consumers surveyed said companies need to become more socially responsible. Good corporate citzenship raises a company's attractiveness in the eyes of the consumer.
The advent of the Internet has made a corporation's reputation more easily accessed by the public, and potential customers are interested in what is being said about you. If you have a reputation for being uncaring, it can quickly escalate to be a serious problem.
The second is the push by their employees, especially millennial workers. As a Deloitte survey indicated, 70 percent of millennial workers are selecting which company to join based on their commitment to social responsibility. Millennials, who have grown up seeing their parents impacted with job losses and lack of appreciation from the corporations they served, now want to create changes to make workplaces better.
In the United States, alone, how the corporation is perceived in the community is considered the second most important factor in achieving employee engagement. Worldwide, according to a Towers Perrin study, it is the third most significant factor in achieving employee engagement.
Thousands of corporations around the world are already responding to the challenge of accepting corporate responsibility by signing the UN Global Compact and pledging that they will exhibit good citizenship in the field of human rights, environmental protection and labor practices.
Walmart, for example, has publicly committed to three environmental goals: to sell environmental sustainable products, to produce zero waste and to operate fully with renweable energy.
Four years ago, Coca-Cola launched a program to assist five million young women from developing countries to become entrepreneurs as bottlers and distributors of their products.
In many smaller organizations, the issue of being socially responsible is relegated to the human resources department. When selecting programs, take pains to ensure that your efforts cannot be dismissed as mere marketing. You have to illustrate that there is a real benefit to the world from your initiative, not just a bit of smoke and mirrors to stay with the trend.
For your small business, just remember that there are a lot of things that attract people to work for your company as well as be loyal to your brand. Take the intiatives to focus on things outside of your products and services from time to time.
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