Is your business considered to be socially conscious? Being so can provide your brand with unrivalled attention both locally and nationally.
Companies that are seen as being socially conscious or green are often featured in national publications, news channels and talked about by local communities. This can attract potential customers to your website and offer you great returns.
However, being socially conscious and green is not always easy.
Learn more about being socially conscious in this article.
What Is The Definition Of Being Socially Conscious or “Green”?
For a business to be socially conscious, it needs to be actively seeking to involve itself with good deeds in communities. For many small businesses they will actively seek to support very local charities or causes to raise the profile of the brand. For instance, some companies will support a school event or building project while others may sponsor a charity sporting event.
Another aspect is being green. This is when the company is resolved to being responsible for the effect it has on the environment. In some cases businesses will go out and actively plant trees or fund environmental awareness campaigns. A classic example of this would be Velvet who plant three trees for every toilet roll purchased.
Businesses understand and actively seek the need to be socially conscious in the current marketplace. More than 8,000 businesses have signed the United Nations Global Compact. This is where they are pledging to show good global citizenship in areas of human rights, labour standards and environmental protection.
Is This Just For Free Publicity?
There is often the concept among public audiences that the majority of businesses support good causes for the publicity gained. This may be true for some companies.
Savvy businesses know being socially responsibility is important. 77% of customers state a company’s social consciousness is an important influence in their purchasing decisions.
However, investing in good causes is not always sustainable for businesses.
Many businesses have been found to be socially conscious in short bursts but fail to keep up the momentum and the philosophy over the longer period.
In fact, a study conducted jointly by the London Business School and the University of California, Riverside discovered brands who engaged in socially conscious activities were likely to act unethically after the activity.
The study concluded business managers often felt their good deeds had bought them moral points, allowing them to act differently later on.
There can be massive backlash over these incidents and businesses need to consider their long-term goals.
Why Should You Be Socially Responsible?
You shouldn’t be socially responsible because you feel you have to be. This is when businesses tend to fail and while they may gain short term benefits, in the long term it may damage their reputation.
Instead, seek out socially conscious causes that you are truly supportive of. For instance, if you are a family-friendly business you can dedicate your time supporting families in your area. This will give you greater enjoyment from the activities and align perfectly with your brand image.
Methods To Becoming Socially Conscious
There are many paths available to being socially conscious. Here is a breakdown of how your business can achieve that without excessive spending.
- Community Effort
Your business’ socially responsible initiatives cannot be carried forward unless you encourage the participation of all your employees. Studies have shown businesses are less willing to give direction and guidance on socially responsible activities recently.
Businesses should be attempting to improve upon that. The best start is to promote the idea of the business being a single entity rather than a group of departments. This can mean holding joint meetings between departments and holding more companywide functions.
During this process every success and failure is the responsibility of each employee. When they combine forces to run socially conscious activities, it will bring the various elements of the company together. This will not only create more successful socially responsible activities but a better performing company.
Begin this task by sitting down and reviewing your business’ mission, values and goals. Then ask your employees how these can relate to socially responsible tasks. They are likely to give similar responses which will generate unity within the business.
Professional development is one of the biggest influencers when it comes to an employee leaving or staying with a company. It can also be supportive of your social responsibilities.
Give your employees a chance to develop their careers. There are numerous educational opportunities for your employees from free online webinars to sending them to business related conferences overseas.
These educational activities can help stimulate ideas and development of socially responsible activities aiding their implementation in the future. It can also improve their morale and performance at work.
- Rewards And Bonuses
Being socially responsible is not normally in the job description of your employees. Therefore, participating in such events requires significant investment in their free time. For employees to do this they often need some motivation. Rewarding socially responsible behaviour is one way.
A good example of this would be to create a recognition award.
Creating a new employee referral program is often a good option. As part of the program; offer to donate money to charity in the employee’s name, should they refer successful applicants.
Employee referral is one of the most successful ways of recruiting new team members. Therefore you can lower recruitment costs while being socially responsible.
True social responsibility does not involve providing large sums of cash to good causes for free publicity. This can have short term gains but long term losses.
Instead your business should encourage your employees to engage in socially responsible activities.
This can have several benefits, not only for your business’ public profile but also for your staff’s efficiency. This can aid your business in being more productive and increasing your revenue, allowing you to expand.
- Review your goals, mission and values and ask your employees what they believe the best socially responsible activities are for your business.
- Motivate employees to plan and implement socially conscious activities.