If it seems to you that everyone in the business world is focusing on corporate social responsibility, it's because they are:
Over two-thirds of American companies believe their employees want them to be socially responsible and over 90% believe their customers have similar expectations.
And they’re not wrong—nearly 80% of employees prefer to work for a company they consider to be socially responsible.
So how do you, as a company, rise to meet these expectations of customers and employees alike? Well, just like any other aspect of your business, corporate social responsibility is going to take a degree of commitment.
You’ll need to think about it daily, check in on progress, and follow through on it. But if you do it right, it doesn’t have to be a burden or a difficult thing. Instead, think of corporate social responsibility as you would your sales department – a necessary component with an integral role to play in your success. With a bit of work, it can be easy as pie (except actually easy).
Make It an Everyday Part of Your Culture
Whenever you start something new, there will be an adjustment period. It will probably be uncomfortable at first. Expect that. Allow for it.
You may get cynical feedback questioning the company’s commitment. The only response for this is to keep at it. That sort of pushback fades when it becomes clear that you have made corporate social responsibility a part of daily operations instead of just an “extra” curricular, occasional event.
One way to make corporate social responsibility part of daily operations is to find ways to operate more sustainably. Whether it’s using more energy efficient lighting or reducing paper waste, you can take small steps to create a culture of social responsibility within your company.
Another great way to make it part of your company culture is to offer matching gifts. We all want our charitable donations to make as much impact as possible, no matter the size of the gift. Matching donations makes every dollar count, by doubling it. And if you let the employees choose the charity, it shows that the company is committed to its employees and the causes that are important to them.
Try It 'Til You Like It
You can’t fake it 'til you make it with corporate social responsibility. It has to be authentic or employees and customers will know. But you can spread social responsibility throughout your company and keep trying it 'til you like it!
Every company has cynics and naysayers who will resist any change (and occasionally loudly). Let your actions and those of your engaged employees speak louder than the words of the doubters.
When you get positive feedback from a charity or nonprofit that your workplace is helping, share that with your employees. Show those who are giving the impact they are having. Inspire others to get involved too. The message that you are making a difference can fuel your employees’ desire do good and silence the naysayers.
Corporate social responsibility is like riding a bike:
When you do it for the first time it’s going to be awkward, uncomfortable, and you’re probably going to wobble until you fall over a few times. But before long, you’ll be flying along smoothly with those first few days of wobbling long behind you.
Make it part of your everyday culture and keep at it until it’s second nature. You might be surprised to find out just how easy corporate social responsibility can actually be.