Corporate Social Responsibility: How Does Your Company Rate?
With all of the distasteful marketing approaches that have served to direct our attention to head-start holiday shopping in recent years, including the mainstreaming of the “Black Friday” phenomenon and the blatant appearance of holiday décor in the marketplace pre-Halloween, it was refreshing to make a certain recent discovery. On encountering an ad announcing the names of nearly 3-dozen chain stores committed to being closed on Thanksgiving Day 2015, my knee-jerk reaction was “shameless, self-serving marketing scheme”. While there may be some truth in that sentiment, I’ve since deemed my assessment to be a tad harsh. Perhaps I should be kinder to big business, and believe that their benevolent leadership figures finally acknowledge the importance of Thanksgiving as a family day. Keeping their employees tied to their workplaces on this day of annual family bonding has had a detrimental social effect on a great percentage of our population for generations, and the pressure was on to reexamine things.
No matter the motive, I’m still over the moon that these companies have taken a HUGE step forward in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR is a concept that has been gaining attention in the new century, despite its lack of momentum. And the Thanksgiving concession demonstrates that although companies have been hinting at CSR for years now, and have certainly referred to their “dedication” to CSR on their websites, their efforts are at last becoming action-oriented. What had been another “check the box” opportunity for these companies (like their “dedication” to women’s advancement and diversity in leadership) has now shown evidence of the needle being nudged, and I commend them for it (Full disclosure: DRIVEN’s corporate principals have included a REAL dedication to CSR since incorporation!).
Evolved companies are the ones who realize that CSR relates not only to the outward business community, but must be practiced within, amongst their own staffs, in order to achieve its intended effect. As someone who is quick to offer advice (even when unsolicited), allow me to lay out three important in-house steps that progressive companies need to take in order to adhere to their own CSR principles. Contrary to the reservations some companies have long held, following through on these can actually result in a BETTER bottom line.
Once leadership begins to walk the talk in terms of flex time and parental leave opportunities, they’ve truly taken a serious CSR leap forward. Sure, many companies offer flex time as part of a list of benefits, but the perceived stigma attached to taking advantage of this offering often deters those it would benefit most. In many industries, this would include a shift in the way business gets done, as is the case for the Department of Labor, whose employees now take advantage of a “core hours” regimen. Once fulfilled, employees are free to maximize their individual potentials in their own off-site environments, resulting in increased productivity, which in turn has helped the DOL’s bottom line.
Address The Wellness Factor
The concept of work/life balance cannot fully flesh out without a greater emphasis on the life portion. Often employees’ personal goals get lost in a sea of professional demands and goals that get piled upon their plates. For a company to care about its employees holistically, it may take more than a passive interest in their health & wellness goals. Such a move is not unselfish on the part of the company, since the natural effect of healthy employees is fewer sick days! One example of this theory in action is a company who recently implemented the acknowledgment of workers’ mental health and physical health goals in their annual reviews.
Companies who are serious about the performance of their employees can also support their career advancement. These companies need to consider offering in-house education in emotional intelligence, professional development and workplace efficiencies. This serves to equip their human capital with the ability to produce optimally, to inspire others, and to represent the firm with passion and integrity.
There’s Encouraging News!
If you or your company would like support in the soft skills education department mentioned above, DRIVEN Professionals is at your disposal. We’re not just savvy marketers….we have the real expertise to help set you apart and revolutionize your business approach for the 21st century. Request a membership app, and set your wheels in motion today!