Nowadays, many organisations have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, it defines concerns and initiatives to improve relationships with all aspects, and it measures economic, social and environmental performance. In this article, I will give you a closer look, and explain how to implement CSR and how exactly CSR helps a business generate honest and reliable social status that its employees, customers and community can be proud of.
CSR in an Organisation
In 2010, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) released a set of standards that meant to help companies implement CSR. Unlike other ISO standards, this particular updated standard outlines guidance and clarifies what responsibility is and helps companies to take actual action.
Firstly, CSR means doing the right thing for its employees, customers and community, and it is responsible for:
- Community investment – including employee volunteering and job secondments, charity foundation events and stakeholders engagement activities.
- Working with key external stakeholders from government, consumers, community, and external investors.
- Providing advice and support for the business to ensure CSR is helping to manage reputation, risk, build relationships and fulfil regulatory requirements.
Additionally, the CSR policy clearly outlines the minimum requirements that are related to performance and stakeholder engagement across the entire business. This includes how the company will approach, and normally centred on:
- Customers – meeting the service level agreement, which means getting the basics right by delivering a great customer experience;
- Employees – being a good boss, highly investing in a customer-focused;
- Society – supporting communities and having a positive vibe.
Especially for these new small businesses, who want to boost their business brand badly, the owners need to understand the requirements stakeholders have towards standard operations.
Apart from its employees, one of the important ways for them to stand out is to be valuable to the local societies, such as giving back to communities and actively participating in social activities.Getting involved no matter how big or small is important to contributing to the greater good of your community.Remember communities are definitely the best platform to promote your brands.
Ways to Practice CSR
CSR is more like a long term approach to businesses, which also addresses the needs of stakeholders. There are few methods to practice CSR for businesses to take into account:
- Environmental efforts: One primary focus of CSR is the environment. Regardless of business sizes, this one is playing a vital role in both the company and society, and it is the first step of the company’s CSR journey;
- Philanthropy: Donating money and providing complimentary services are always effective ways to practice CSR. I used to run Sunday school at Church, a lot of small business owners displayed their products on the shelves and wrote “Sunday Appeal – all sales go to local community hub”, which was a genius way to get their businesses’ names out there by donating their proceeds;
- Ethical employment practices: Treating workers fairly and honestly. As a business owner, you can encourage employees to participate and provide honest feedback on the job and environment regularly; for small firms, the owner can easily communicate with staff, have a cup of coffee or casual chat at lunchtime, it doesn’t have a complicated management procedure like big firms;
- Volunteering: Nowadays businesses have volunteering leave. It is an amazing idea, which means companies can express their concern for certain issues and support for other organisations.
What CSR programs fit into your business?
Calling all business owners, it’s sometimes hard to decide what programs will suit to your business right? Based on my industrial experience, I found the criteria below may form a good place to start and blueprint for you:
- When looking for CSR programs, make sure to take a moment to consider what will fit with its current products, processes, brand status and organisational value;
- Once a business proposed a CSR program, it will create awareness, implement, and monitor regularly so that you can see how well they work;
- Consider your customers’ needs and preferences, what do they want from your business, and how can the business help them achieve their goals;
- By practising or implementing CSR programs, the business will attract more and more enthusiastic and talented employees. In the long run, your employees will say great things about the business and make the organisational purpose meaningful for day-to-day work.
A big organisation like CPA Australia, its objective is to be a leader in CSR by taking its strengths to give back so as to increase expectations for businesses. On the contrary, a small business such as your local business, with limited resources, would be looking at locally targeting social initiatives, a smart move.
CSR is mostly a strategy for businesses. In most of the cases, small firms can easily adapt to and manage the changes; therefore they are more flexible to attach their value and purpose.
Always remember: whatever CSR programs your business implements, it has to match up with the company’s culture, mission and value. If it doesn’t, it will become a disconnection with your customers and employees, which would be the worst nightmare for you if the failure of CSR occurs.
So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to boost your brand? Put your thoughts into action, start your ‘CSR’ journey today!
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