When a company is perceived as unethical or irresponsible it’s bad for business. No one wants to support negligent corporate practices if they can avoid it. A toxic company culture is seen as the equivalent of a reckless or exploitative approach to commerce.
Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is a catch-all term that refers to the best ethical practice when it comes to how a corporation goes about its business. It includes both the impact a company has on its commercial partners, customers, and the environment, but also how it treats its employees.
CSR can cover a variety of different practices. The question of reducing carbon emissions in your supply chain falls under the prerogative of CSR, as does the question of how to record a phone conversation with respect for people’s privacy.
While you might be hard-pressed to find anyone who explicitly wants their business to behave irresponsibly, this article considers five benefits of clearly articulating your business’s CSR strategy.
1. CSR is an Authentic PR and Marketing Asset
If there was ever a time when the art of public relations involved glossing over or covering up any negative publicity a company might receive for behaving badly, in 2021 those days are over.
Whether it’s on issues of third-world exploitation, racial and gender inequality, or climate change, businesses that are seen as failing to respond to the issues of our times are increasingly called out.
When companies make good choices based on CSR, it gives PR and marketing departments something to shout about. CSR is much more effective when compared to traditional advertising avenues, such schemes that generate far less engagement with the public.
CSR schemes can be philanthropic or charitable programs your company is involved with. But responsible business decisions like switching from an exploitative call center to a CCaaS system can also be considered part of your CSR strategy.
2. Increased Sales
Working in sales comes with a whole host of stereotypes—suits, ties, slick pitches, and conference calls, but social responsibility is often not one of them. Luckily, all of that is changing with a new generation of salespeople placing CSR front and center of their approach to business development.
Thanks to the internet, in a world characterized by lightning-fast news reporting and powerful but unpredictable social movements, people are becoming better informed about bad business practices and their effects. One result of these has been the growth of so-called “cancel culture” in recent years and the looming threat of boycotts for brands that fall short of their customers’ standards.
Having a progressive, forward-thinking CSR plan can help your business avoid this kind of negative publicity while helping your customers to feel good about purchasing from you.
What’s more, companies with strong links to the communities they are based in benefit from a loyal customer base and the reliable income it generates.
3. Attract Responsible Investors
Just as customers are now more inclined to demand the highest standards when it comes to an organization’s corporate practice, investors too are seeking guarantees that their money is going to make a positive impact on the world.
Of course, whether it’s implementing new call center quality assurance protocols or firing and hiring company directors, shareholders have always asked for the businesses they have a stake in to make changes.
A survey showing that 90% of the largest fund managers have increased the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into their funds in the last year, it is safe to say that social responsibility has become one of investors’ top concerns.
With ESG compliance now one of the primary factors determining the investors you get exposed to, more than ever it pays to have a dedicated corporate responsibility program and verifiable CSR credentials.
4. Recruit and Retain the Best Employees
What staff value from their employers has also massively changed in recent years. These days, employees are more likely to seek out opportunities for remote work, and companies that use the latest technologies like Cloud Communication Platforms to construct a flexible, sustainable work environment are increasingly preferred.
Increasing your appeal to potential workers goes beyond simply not being a bad boss too. Who would want to work for a company they perceive as unethical or irresponsible? With employer review platforms like Glassdoor now carrying serious weight when it comes to prospective employee’s choice to take a job or not, how a business goes about exercising its CSR will no doubt affect its ability to recruit the best talent.
Having a workforce who feel happy in their careers and supported by their employer is also the single most effective way of retaining staff. The best CSR strategies inject meaning into people’s jobs by making them feel that they are part of something bigger and making a positive difference in the world.
5. Grow Sustainable Partnerships
A typical modern business is inevitably enmeshed in a complex web of corporate relationships. Even a small company can have hundreds of partners, from its business call app provider to the independent contractors it employs to carry out workplace maintenance.
Healthy partnerships built on trust and reciprocity are the bedrock of long-term, sustainable commercial success. Prioritizing civil business communications and remembering the people behind the companies you deal with doesn’t mean losing your competitive edge and ensures all parties get to feel like winners.
Include guidelines for the way you deal with external bodies in your CSR procedure. These should cover exchanges with other corporate entities but also dealings with non-profit and public sector organizations.
It can be hard to feel committed to a relationship based only on financial transactions. To help your staff foster a more responsible outlook towards your partnerships, encourage extra-economic activities.
It’s easy to arrange sports fixtures and other social events that involve your business partners or simply the other companies you might share a building with. These give your staff something to get excited about and are a great way to forge real friendships as opposed to superficial work relationships that end as you leave the office door.
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform that offers virtual fax and video calling solutions. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.
CSR stock image by patpitchaya/Shutterstock