Author: Mike Scaletti
At The Job Shop we believe STRONGLY in giving back to our community. We encourage our employees to volunteer with causes they believe in, we volunteer as a group regularly, and we include charities and local businesses that we think deserve support in our weekly candidate email. We do this because our community is important to us. We recognize that we sit in an incredibly privileged position, being a successful business in a region with large levels of income inequality, and we want to use that privilege to help as many members of our community as possible.
While giving back can absolutely be its own reward, there are also tangible benefits to being an active and giving member of your community, and those benefits stretch far beyond simple tax deductions for charitable donations (though those are nice too).
Research has shown that socially conscious companies get more engagement from customers, generate more investment, and have an easier time hiring. Being a contributing part of your community not only makes the world a bit of a better place, it can also help your bottom line!
With that in mind, here are some easy ways for your company to start being a more productive and socially conscious member of your community.
Make Social Responsibility Part of Your Mission
Most companies have some type of mission statement, brand story and guidelines, or set of brand values. At The Job Shop we put our dedication to our community right in our Brand Guidelines:
Community – we are nothing without our community, and so we willingly and regularly commit time and energy to making our community better, stronger, more successful (and have fun doing this too). Our connection to the community is integral.
You should as well! Remember, the key is to be authentic. If you are trying to give back and be socially responsible, commit to it. Making a few half-hearted donations won't work. You need to show that you are committed to making a positive impact on your community and the world.
Set Goals and Pursue Them
If you're a small business it's unlikely that you are going to be able to single handily, say, reverse climate change. What you can do, however, is set realistic, attainable goals, such as offsetting your business' carbon footprint or committing to getting your employees to take public transit rather than drive. These are small, easily achievable things that can help in big ways. Try to make these goals measurable so that you can ensure you are making progress and are taking steps in the right direction.
Hire the Right People
Not only does engaging in social responsibility as a business increase your applicant pool and make it easier to hire talented and socially conscious employees, it's also a feedback loop. The more you hire people interested in working for a company that is a valuable member of its community, the more your employees are likely to start engagement campaigns and initiatives, which in turn will attract more employees looking for responsible and rewarding work. This is a win-win for both you and your employees.
Find Out What Matters to Your Employees
Like every aspect of a business, passion leads to excellence. Find out what causes the people who work for your company are passionate about, and then engage in those causes. The likelihood is that they will no more about how to make a meaningful impact in those causes than you do, so let them take the lead on it if they desire to do so. This will allow your employees to both engage in rewarding action for themselves and your business, take on valuable leadership roles, and feel more fulfilled in their job.
One thing to remember is that if you want them to do this work you should pay them for it. It is tempting for many companies to ask their employees to figure out how they should give back in their free time, but this is work that benefits you and your business' community. It should be paid.
Work Together With Other Businesses
Remember, the whole point of this article is to encourage you to be a part of your community. Communities are made up of many individuals so that no one has to stand alone. So don't! Reach out to other small businesses in your community that you think might be willing to collaborate to make a more significant impact on the cause or project that you are undertaking. You might be surprised at how many will say yes! In addition, this provides you with valuable networking opportunities which may lead to additional business for your company down the line.