By Ryan Ayers

There’s an escalating need for social workers who help for-profit businesses build strong relationships in the community. In fact, the hiring of social workers in the private sector is a growing international trend. As a result, there’s never been a greater demand for social workers in this niche.

Enterprise leaders are just beginning to recognize the value of social workers in the commercial setting. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts an impressive 19-percent growth rate for corporate social worker job openings through the year 2022. Still, the trend of hiring social workers to support enterprise civic responsibility is gaining traction around the globe.

The changing role of social workers is becoming markedly visible. Social workers in the business environment help enterprise leaders think globally about their impact on society. These professionals promote humanity and ethics in the workplace. Corporate social workers foster a positive work environment, promote employee wellness and work toward building strong communities.

The following entries highlight 5 ways that social workers can help improve business.

Method 1: Work With Human Resources

The human resources field has evolved toward the practice of promoting collaboration, leveraging the strengths of staff members and promoting organizational efficiency. Often, heavily tasked human resources departments take on the responsibilities of addressing workplace concerns, managing important administrative tasks and promoting employee development. In collaboration with human resources professionals, corporate social workers manage and mediate conflicts as well as coach teams and staff members. Social workers act as counselors and can provide mental health services and assist employees in overcoming bias and discriminatory practices. They increase corporate communications and can building thriving client and employee relationships.

Method 2: Create Connections

The social work profession embodies beneficial and meaningful communication. It’s vital for business leaders who want or need to improve their firm’s relationship with staff members and the community to recognize the powerful impact that social workers bring to the marketplace.

Today’s corporate social workers help staff members develop interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to build relationships. This service is essential in a corporate work environment that’s moving towards horizontal management and cross-functional integration. As this trend gains momentum, business leaders are placing more emphasis on staff members working toward a common goal, making corporate social workers essential in an increasingly collaborative workplace.

Method 3: Promote Ethics

Corporate social workers help enterprise leaders make better decisions, think beyond profits and promote ethical behavior. For some firms, their background in social justice fits well with the organizational mission. Corporate social workers can help clients some achieve positive outcomes by ensuring access to important resources such as transportation, funding resources or day care services. In other instances, corporate social workers play a critical role in the development and shape of organizational policy. For example, the technology giant Google recently hired a social worker to review privacy and user policies as well as address other ethical and legal concerns.

Method 4: Encourage Wellness

Corporate social workers help staff members overcome health issues, trauma and other problems. They have a deep understanding of employee motivation, interpersonal relationships, human behavior and workplace obstacles. They assume many duties, which may include helping workers cope with professional responsibilities and personal health and emotional problems in addition to spearheading activities that help enterprises build community relations. Additionally, corporate social workers might liaise with government agencies and develop and implement community programs.

Method 5: Improve Organizational Culture

Although social workers typically work for nonprofit organizations, government agencies and in other humanitarian capacities, they add great value to for-profit teams as well, offering new perspectives and serving as a catalyst for improving company culture. Intuitively, social workers are empathetic listeners who promote peaceful work environments. Also, they empower staff members to improve their quality of life by modeling healthy behaviors.

Human resources is a broad field that encompasses staffing, policy development, compensation and benefits, employee retention, training, career development and legal compliance. Corporate social workers can help human resources business units improve worker satisfaction, employee loyalty, collaboration and subordinate–supervisory relationships.

Around the globe, forward-thinking leaders recognize how important it is to support the communities in which they operate to promote long-term, sustainable growth and prosperity. Social workers can help business leaders build an organizational culture where employee development is part of a successful overall business strategy. This makes social workers exceptional candidates for promoting a way of thinking that places equal emphasis on staff member and community relations as well as profit generation. As more for-profit business leaders recognize the value of employing social workers to foster relations, society will undergo a radical improvement for the better.

Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of Fortune 500 companies within multiple industries including information technology and big data. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on data collection and analysis. You can find more from Ryan on Twitter at @TheBizTechGuru.

Social worker stock photo by stockfour/Shutterstock