Over the last two decades, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a business priority. Some companies have wide-ranging goals, while others contribute directly to the social issues that impact their employees and the well-being of the communities that affect their business goals. An effective CRS strategy should include three pillars: Clients, People, and Community.
Nowadays, there is a growing focus to disguise CSR as a business discipline with the expectation that every initiative should deliver business results. In my humble opinion, that may very well be expecting too much as it deters from CRS’s primary purpose: to align a company’s social responsibility objectives with its business purpose and values.
If, in the process, CSR activities improve efficiencies that positively impact corporate performance and enhance the bottom line, well, that’s just gravy. Those outcomes should be an overflow, not the reason for existing. Some of the most philanthropic people I know, for instance, give from the bottom of their hearts. They give because they care and because they have built their businesses from the ground up and understand community investment.
In my experience, well-managed, reputable companies are interested in developing a strong CSR program that aligns with their purpose and core values. Beyond the satisfaction of addressing the needs in the community, such a company will also derive unique rewards from giving back.
Think about how your support will endear you to clients and consumers. Perhaps most importantly, consider how your employees will respond to your generosity. Community engagement cultivates a positive culture and exceptional value for employees. It makes your employees feel really good about themselves and the company they work for, which makes them feel good about your leadership as a CEO or business owner. People want to be associated with goodwill and CSR adds that work/community balance that people desire.
In case you’re still not convinced that CSR is right for your business, below are the top reasons you should consider a robust CSR strategy.
- Philanthropy builds healthier communities, which helps the economy to prosper.
- Social responsibility allows employees to leverage corporate resources for the well being of their communities. Those joint employee efforts can achieve substantial results while bolstering recruitment, engagement, and retention.
- CSR builds feelings of trust and goodwill with clients, which drive sales.
- Networking with community leaders through CSR initiatives, diversifies relationships, which can be rewarding.
- Charitable investments come with tax benefits.
Lastly, don’t forget that CSR begins at home. Sometimes companies overlook how they treat and support their employees. A company that substantially contributes to charitable organizations but doesn’t take good care of its workforce is not living up to certain values. Diversity and inclusion also play an essential role in CSR. If your company’s leadership prioritizes these issues, it will create a social responsibility culture that serves employees, clients, and communities well.