Establishing a corporate social responsibility program

More companies are making corporate social responsibility (CSR) a part of their core brand reflecting the increased public awareness regarding corporations’ social and environmental impacts. It turns out a CSR isn’t just good for society or Mother Nature, it’s also good for your bottom line.

A CSR survey conducted by Nielsen in 2014 found that 55 percent of consumers polled across 60 countries said they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to creating positive social and environmental impacts.

This creates vast opportunities for both consumers and corporations to engender positive change across the globe while forwarding their own initiatives and economies wherever they do business. The truth is, most businesses want to give back. Over the past 32 years of practice management consulting, Sterling Management has seen the greatest satisfaction from our clients when they were able to engage in social responsibility programs as a result of their expansion.

By incorporating CSR into a company’s core brand, it stands out to consumers as a good place to do business, preferably more than once. Doing so builds trust, develops interest that goes deeper than the product or service and creates lasting goodwill. It also feels good.

Corporations who have provided excellent examples of incorporating CSR initiatives include Google, Starbucks, Target and Tom’s Shoes. All have made their CSR a core part of their brand and in a way that is marketable and attractive.

When creating a CSR, here are a few tips:

  • Survey your consumers regarding what initiatives they find important.
  • Engage your employees — your CSR can positively impact those you attract to your space and having employees with a genuine interest speaks volumes to your consumers and should be nurtured if possible.
  • Be credible. Simply announcing a CSR program is not enough. You need to put in place a plan of action and follow through with real commitment.
  • Ensure to make your good works known via social media. Your socially conscious consumers want to show others that they support a socially responsible company if they chose you for that reason and can influence others to do business where they know their dollars go to making a difference. And if they didn’t choose you for your CSR, it still creates a positive association when they find out about all the good you are doing.
  • Maximize your influence. Consistently review your performance and assess where improvements can be made and how to best impact the issues you care about most.

Whether you’re a startup or you’ve been around a long time, having CSR as part of your operations is a great way to validate who you are and why others should do business with you. The scale of your CSR is completely up to you and your circumstances and can evolve over time. Starting small, even if through volunteer work still makes a difference and you can rest assured your consumers will agree.

Resource: Wilson, Kevin. “Hiring Breakthrough.” Personnel: Your Most Valuable Resource or Greatest Burden – For Accountants. N.p.: Sterling Management, 2013. N. pag. Personnel: Your Most Valuable Resource or Greatest Burden. Amazon, 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2016

Kevin Wilson is CEO of Sterling Management. Founded in 1983, Sterling has been a leading player in the practice management consulting field for more than three decades.Kevin is not only a highly trained administrator and consultant; he has published the widely read human resources book, Personnel: Your Most Valuable Resource or Greatest Burden. For information, visit www.Sterling.us.