We need change. In today’s world, there’s no end to the number of issues faced by people.
Whether it’s the looming environmental catastrophe, a growing wealth divide, lack of political freedom or the threat of wars – every issue continues to impact our lives in one way or another.
There is an urgency now, more than ever, to make a positive impact on the world. At the same time, we would also like to live our lives on our own terms.
But where do we begin? Is it possible for an individual to make a difference at large? Does it mean we have to be ready to make some sacrifices?
We all want to help because we are reasonable human beings. But we also want to have our own lives and build a successful business. It almost seems like an impossible feat.
How can you achieve a balance between the two?
The proverbial work-life balance allows you to serve your community and carry on a happy work life – but it is a challenge for many of us to achieve.
Work-life balance need not necessarily mean separating work and personal life altogether. What if we integrate these two aspects? Is it possible for employees to achieve a sense of satisfaction about their personal goals even at work? Many popular brands have been successful on this front and as can your business!
DID YOU KNOW: 50% of millennials shared in a recent study that they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values and beliefs; and 83% of executives believe skills-based volunteering opportunities could help employees satisfy their desire for purpose and improve their teamwork and leadership abilities.
How and Why businesses today should be more socially responsible
Since 1983, Microsoft’s giving program urges employees to not only donate money to social causes but also to volunteer. As an organisation, Microsoft has succeeded in encouraging employees to take charge and be more generous. In 2017, $3.7 million was raised for natural disasters, like hurricanes Maria, Harvey, and Irma; the earthquake in Ecuador; and the California wildfires.
Here’s why every business should aim to make an impact:
– Make your business more relatable.
– Be credible, genuine and show the world how much you care by acting on your goals.
– Give your employees a chance to contribute to initiatives that matter.
Corporate social responsibility or giving back to the community on social, economic and environmental fronts in addition to any commercial products or services has been a buzz word in the business world for quite some time.
While many businesses view this as an opportunity to have an “edge”, many choose to integrate this aspect well within the key priorities of the company for all the right reasons.
When all the communities are peaceful, happy and secure, there is a better chance for your business to thrive. By adopting more sustainable, responsible and eco-friendly choices, businesses can also save unnecessary costs.
Essentially, when you stand for something and integrate your vision and goals into the core aspects of your business, you are also leading your employees to contribute to these efforts. You will eventually creating a community of socially conscious humans who care about their immediate surroundings, evaluate the impact of their actions and improve the world one step at a time.
As a business owner, you have the power to make an impact and here’s how:
- Define your impact goals: When you communicate your company’s goals and efforts to the community, you and your team members make a commitment to take it seriously and work towards achieving these goals.
The best way to do this is to write and share your goals, successes, failures and hiccups with friends and strangers alike, maybe on LinkedIn or other relevant platforms. Branding and social media is key!
- Company culture and values: Build a company culture based on social responsibility. Your employees are the heart and soul of your business, but can also be a catalyst to make a difference. Engaging your workforce on this journey probably seems difficult, but will help you in the long run.
Efforts to recycle, encouraging goal setting on an individual level, engaging your teams in projects like volunteer work, and adopting simple, sustainable practices can be beneficial.
- Authenticity: More often than not, many business owners might be tempted to brand themselves as socially conscious because it is a trend or for profit. Giving into this or taking shortcuts paves the way for your business to lose credibility.
Start by understanding why you and your team wish to make an impact. Being honest, genuine and authentic has time and again helped many individuals reap more benefits.
To be socially responsible in the right way, change your mindset
Every business owner who tries to make an impact must ask themselves this – are you doing it as a marketing strategy or as a passion project?
One way to know is if your business has an impact statement that shows good results.
An “impact statement” helps businesses communicate exactly how their activities are making a difference in the society. In an impact statement, you may discuss the initiatives you have taken and why, how it was meant to benefit the community, and a comprehensive analysis of the results.
Assessing impact at regular intervals can help you understand what you are doing right or wrong, how you can improve your current methods to genuinely make a difference and produce tangible results, and whether you are really succeeding in your efforts.
Such initiatives taken by companies, whether it is a tree planting campaign or to donate money to organisations, is a huge investment – of money and time. Every investment, big or small, needs to be measured – wouldn’t you agree?
To truly succeed in making an impact, every business owner must adopt socially responsible practices and initiatives with an aim to grow as an organisation and to be instrumental in bringing about change.
Your passion and the intention to help people should be the driving forces, not the obligation of the law, rules, trends or fear.
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