The basic principle of CSR is being aware of the impact a business has on society, whether that’s economic, social or environmentally. Being a good corporate citizen means making sure your business operations contribute to your community and the environment in positive rather than negative ways.
Being socially responsible shows existing and potential customers and employees that you care about being a good business citizen and creating a fulfilling and rewarding place to work. With companies facing the uphill challenge of recruiting and retaining the best talent, being a socially responsible business can be an important point of difference for potential employees.
There was a time when businesses could say ‘being socially responsible is a luxury we can’t afford’, but even during these difficult times, many companies have found ways to increase their community support and have discovered that being socially responsible can lead to business growth.
A company’s brand and reputation now rely heavily on the positive impacts the business makes. There is nowhere to hide poor practices and irresponsible behaviours in the modern digital world, everything is out in the open via social media. Being committed to CSR gives a brand the upper hand in the marketplace.
Reducing operating costs is a benefit of good CSR, whether that’s minimising paper and power use in the office or encouraging car share or bike schemes, sustainable business practice looks good on the bottom line. Sustainable actions not only lead to cost savings but also employee satisfaction and client loyalty.
Keeping your customers engaged in your CSR activities has a great impact on raising awareness and increasing brand loyalty. They buy into your cause and recommend your products or services to others and it’s possible to reposition your price point to reflect your additional brand uplift.
There are many ways to initiate CSR programmes within a business, some more costly than others. Our advice would be to start small and test out some low-cost initiatives to see how staff and customers react and how they benefit the community and your business. Try the following:
- Community events
Find a charity that your staff feel passionate about and either set up or get involved in a fundraising event. This is a great way to encourage teamwork, engage stakeholders and can form a long-lasting partnership for good in the community.
- Employee volunteering
Devise a programme where employees can devote an amount of their work time per month to helping a cause of their choice. Many charities are crying out for professional assistance or an extra pair of hands for their services.
- Company donation
Set aside a proportion of your profit by sponsoring an event or making a donation every time a customer buys a certain product. Encouraging more sales, both staff and customers know that they are giving something back every time a purchase is made.
CRM has nominated an annual charity partner for years now and it’s proven to be a mutually beneficial relationship. We’ve raised thousands through fun fundraising events like our Charity Race Night which is taking place in November in aid of Daybreak Oxford, our charity partner. Keep an eye out on social media for more details coming soon!
We also encourage our staff to spend up to three hours of work time per month helping a charity of their choice. This is a very popular benefit for many employees, enabling them to develop new skills whilst supporting a cause they love.
There are so many ways to grow your business through Corporate Social Responsibility. If you’d like to discuss your thoughts and tap into our experience and wisdom, please do get in touch with the friendly team at CRM on 01865 379272.