The ways that business function in a society is changing. The things that society cares about is also changing. Today, responsible behavior is becoming more and more important. The way we treat our environment, how we come together to tackle problems our society faces, the unfairness seen when rampant profiteering is all that matters. These are the things people care about. And because your business employees many of those people and is supported by many more, they care about how your business fits into the equation as well. How do you fit today’s modern standards for responsibility and why should you do it?
How do you treat your team?
One of the greatest concerns of the modern mind is the role of the individual within the corporate structure. As the side with more power in the relationship, the employer is always going to see more scrutiny in how they responsibly interact with their employees’ lives. At the core of this is creating an ethically sound employment policy. Caring for the health and safety, reducing accidents, managing well-being all contribute. But so does the more nebulous factors of the workplace environment. How common harassment and bullying are, how much mobility individuals have in the business, your approach to equality in the workforce. If you fail to tackle these issues, they will come to light.
Don’t forget the consumer
Your employees aren’t the only people you deal with on a regular basis. The consumers are there too and they are going to be heard. A lot of businesses are getting more communicative with their customers thanks to the internet and, in particular, social media. However, these shouldn’t be channels just to market to them and build a community. These are also the platforms businesses have to control the message and be honest with consumers when there are issues they’re addressing. Failing to address failings in business or a controversial decision gone wrong will lose you the respect of the market. But many businesses are finding out that sometimes holding their hands up and addressing problems with an eye to fix them gets them forgiveness and even more support than they had before. The ability to admit a wrong can win a lot of goodwill.
Look after your environment
When it comes to sustainability and responsibility, there’s one factor that more people hold at a higher value than the rest. The impact of the business on the environment. On the macro level, this means looking at how you produce products and carry out services, making sure that you’re not just compliant with environmental regulations, but proactive in keeping the business as earth friendly as possible. In the micro-level, you can look at the way the business operates in the day today. You can use wholesale LEDs to immediately make all the lighting in the offices more energy efficient or fit in water-saving faucets that reduce water consumption in the business. Energy audits and energy saving policy creation can help you save a lot of money, not just do a lot of good. If you make a public declaration of the business’s dedication to green practices, every little helps.
Look into your partners
Consumers are becoming savvier about how ethical, personally and environmentally, the businesses they support are. If you are about your reputation, you should care about the businesses you partner with, as well. There are different sites and databases, for instance, that actually measure and keep track of the social good of a business. Getting caught up can inform you on potential partners so you don’t make a deal that could backfire on the responsible image you’re trying to create.
Be the motivating force
A business is expected to dedicate its resources to social and environmental good because of the role it serves. Thanks to the people it hires and makes money from, it is considered a social entity, not just a private one. However, you can also empower the people within the business to take charge of their own social responsibility. More businesses are starting to incentivize and give room for people to volunteer, donate, and work with the causes they care about. By taking off the burden that your business might otherwise prove to stop them from doing so, you’re removing some of the responsibility for social good from the business itself.
Join the cause
There are, of course, some things that your business might be able to do towards social good that your individual employees can’t. You can dedicate resources, infrastructure, and expertise to other causes to give them the kind of boost that no one person could do alone. For instance, you could use cause marketing, providing your platform to help highlight social good through social media and help organizations reach a much wider audience than they otherwise could. Or you could partner more extensively with said organizations. Some businesses will even offer promotional products that profit share with charities as part of a long-term project.
As mentioned, people care more about social responsibility. Your business takes up the time of a lot of its employees, time they then don’t have to use on their own social good efforts. This means that people expect you to shoulder some of the burden for them. But there a lot of success stories about socially responsible businesses, already. Whether they’re Fair Trade distributors, people deeply invested in a single issue, or those who allow their employees the leeway to fulfill their own social good. More and more, it’s starting to look like the profits lie with those who are able to be that force for good. More than loyal customers, you will earn supporters and the fiercest kind of brand advocates. Some would say that’s even more valuable than money.
Your reputation, your profits, and perhaps the survivability of the business depend on support. Support is no longer about providing a good service or product, but doing it in a way that is publicly seen as responsible. Instilling some of the values mentioned above in the business is how you do that.