Our current era requires more than just fiscal achievement for a company to be considered truly successful. Organizations who accomplish the most are also making an impact in areas outside of their budget; they are working toward the betterment of society as a whole. In fact, studies have concluded that companies who pursue one or more worthy cause also have greater level of customer loyalty, brand insight, as well as more effectual marketing, employee recruitment and engagement.
Why must business leaders take social responsibility into consideration when planning their business strategies?
Within the last five years, public expectations have grown considerably. Forbes recently reported that 32 percent of workers would contemplate leaving their place of employment if the company gave little or no money to charity. Sixty-five percent of employees would consider changing jobs if their current company was known to have caused environmental harm; and 83 percent would consider new employment if their employer was found to have used sweatshop factories and child labor.
According to the same report by Forbes, over 88 percent of consumers believe organizations should attempt to achieve their business objectives while simultaneously helping out with societal and environmental issues. Meanwhile, 83 percent of consumers feel that the companies they support should also actively donate to charities and nonprofit groups.
According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that practice social responsibility are actually creating “a source of opportunity, innovation, and competitive advantage”.
What are some options for companies looking to increase their sense of social accountability?
Donating profit portions: This is one of the most common ways for organizations to engage in charity work. A company will pledge and then donate a specified amount of their revenue to the nonprofit of their choice.
Buy-One-Give-One: The BOGO business model states that for every item a company sells, they will donate one to a charitable organization. Examples of companies that maintain this twofold objective of profit and charity include TOMS Shoes and Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child.
Employee Incentives and Volunteerism Programs: Some companies opt to incorporate their employees into charitable endeavors by offering optional retreats that focus on specific charitable goals. Employees receive a certain amount of paid time off to volunteer for either a company-sponsored charity or one of their own choosing.
By engaging in socially responsible activities, companies are not only raising money and awareness for a worthy cause, but also drawing public attention to their product, increasing their own overall sales. They also create an important bond among their work staff by aiming toward a common positive goal.
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