The modern business world is so complex that it can be hard to know if you’re doing enough to be socially and environmentally responsible. Many companies fail to live up to the way they market themselves, claiming to be a “family” one day and then firing employees over minor issues the next.
From creating a social procurement policy to offering empathetic leadership, here are five ways to ensure your business is as socially responsible on the inside as it looks on the outside.
This term refers to the dedicated push made by socially responsible businesses to procure everything from web hosting to product packaging via routes that help the community and/or environment.
You may wish to hire from an agency that helps people with disabilities find fulfilling work. If you’re a sole trader with no employees, you could make a similar impact by using suppliers who have diverse and inclusive workplaces and environmentally sustainable practices.
If you claim that you’re donating a certain amount of money to a charitable cause, follow through and show your receipts. If you claim that your business will be zero-waste or carbon neutral by a certain date, make sure it happens, and if you fall short for any reason, be upfront about it. This level of honesty may be scary, but by bringing people into the journey and sharing your ups and downs, you create a relatable personality for your brand.
From social procurement policies to your workplace health and safety guidelines, it’s immensely helpful to get your programs and initiatives clearly laid out. These are resources you can then provide to employees, potential investors, and other stakeholders to ensure compliance and to make it clear that you mean business when it comes to social responsibility.
Many a human rights violation has been hidden behind a complex supply chain. Many large companies use supply chain obfuscation as a tactic to ensure they can exploit cheap labor but then claim ignorance if it ever comes to light. However, this issue can also affect business owners who had no idea what lurked at the end of their supply chain.
The only way to know for sure that your supply chain is clean and responsible all the way through is to insist on transparency with your clients. As a bonus, this level of transparency will also improve your security as you’ll have greater insight into each supplier’s cybersecurity measures and disaster recovery plans.
While data-driven decision-making is essential in the modern world, it’s important that leaders never lose touch with the human side of their role. If an employee’s numbers are suddenly down and they’re failing to meet their KPIs, the data-driven approach can help you quickly highlight the fact that there’s a problem.
After this, however, your empathy should kick in. Rather than hauling the employee in for a disciplinary meeting, start by having a non-confrontational chat with them to see if you can find out what’s troubling them. From here, you can offer services and resources to support them.
While the above tips are designed to help you be a more positive force in the world, you will soon find that the benefits roll back to you. Employees who feel heard and supported tend to be far more loyal and productive. And when people see you doing genuine good in the world, they’re far more likely to want to do business with you.