Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is more than the right thing to do, it’s the right way to grow. And it’s not just for Fortune 100/500 firms. Charitable giving to grow is the way to powerfully connect with employees and all stakeholders to successfully build small- to medium-sized businesses.
Any small to mid- sized business can pursue this strategy—as long as there is a true shared passion for the cause. There has never been as much movement between jobs/employers as there is today. Employees are attracted to working with companies wrapped around purpose as it makes work more fulfilling. Employees are happier when they have a powerful reason and “why” to be at a company and a shared mission and vision with each other, their clients and community.
It’s no secret that Millennials have a huge impact on today’s marketplace for businesses and they “influence up.” As a purpose-driven, socially responsible generation, the Give to Grow strategy is highly resonant with them and keeps your business relevant and appealing to this critical market. Companies that chase money and exist solely for profit in today’s adaptable environment won’t thrive.
The giving process starts within. Be generous with your employees before you are generous elsewhere. Forward-thinking companies look for meaningful ways to incentivize, going beyond a “traditional” benefits package (medical, dental, vision, paid vacation days, paid holidays) with socially responsible initiatives including paid time for employees to volunteer during work hours and company matching for employee charitable donations. Some companies also support employee-driven volunteer/charitable initiatives. By offering creative incentives that support your employees’ purpose and passions, you are fostering loyalty and creating a high-performance culture where people feel respected and valued.
Transparency plays a huge role. Innovative companies have evolved to make sure that key decisions aren’t made behind closed doors. Talk to the whole company about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Tell them how they can be involved and recognize your employees also want to be heard. Ask them what their passion and purpose is and then listen—really listen—when they tell you. You can help fuel their passion by talking about your company’s purpose and how CSR fits into that. If you only talk about the company’s goals and what charitable organizations the company will support, you can create a divisive atmosphere because charitable giving is a deeply personal decision.
Above all, make sure your business “insides” match the “outsides.” The public perception should be a reality. Pursue best practices on all levels and always celebrate, honor and validate your employees. Recognize the good they do in the community, as well as the good they do within the company and, most importantly, give no matter what your bottom line is. It will always come back to you in unexpected ways.