When you build a business, you are initially focused on attracting clients, managing expenses and increasing your investment to fuel the bottom line. As your business grows, you begin to play a bigger role in your community and in the lives of your employees. Eventually, you may begin to shape some of your business practices around social and environmental concerns. Welcome to the world of corporate social responsibility, or what is now known by a broader label, corporate sustainability.
Businesses, large and small, have explored the advantages of championing responsible business practices in order to have a positive impact on their communities and bottom line. For many, this means donating money, employee time and other resources to a community service project. Mixing commerce and employees with community needs is good business, and it can have unexpected benefits.
Benefits You May Not Have Considered
Many companies begin by encouraging their workers to take an active role in their community. Businesses get involved directly by underwriting local sports teams, 5K races, concerts and fundraisers. On a broader scale, large corporations dedicate themselves to environmental sustainability by committing to reduce waste and pollution, developing renewable energy practices or producing environmentally friendly products and services. Community service projects, in particular, can offer some unexpected benefits.
- Strengthen culture, employee retention
Social projects improve employee morale, stir compassion and introduce employees to volunteerism that can transfer to their personal lives. Connecting on a human level helps a business develop its culture or corporate spirit. It builds trust and tells people that your organization cares about the world in which it does business.
- Attract new talent
Corporate sustainability highlights your company’s values and helps attract talent.
- Grow client base
When you are focused on the greater good, prospective customers are drawn to you. And, setting a good example differentiates your business from your competitors!
- Build goodwill
Taking on service projects builds goodwill within the community, all of which make your business stronger and generates positive attention.
- Create new connections between employees
Consider a Saturday afternoon dedicated to building a house for Habitat for Humanity. Such a project pulls together employees from different departments. They spend the day working side by side with colleagues they might not have otherwise have known.
- Breakdown hierarchical barriers
In a construction type service project, for example, it’s not uncommon for managers to hammer and paint alongside warehouse staff. Roles are reversed when an entry-level worker shares construction skills with an executive. The increased feeling of unity and collaboration often carries over to the workplace where social barriers weaken and interdepartmental communications improve. Suddenly people feel more comfortable sharing ideas and best practices that will make your business more effective.
Corporate service projects offer your employees the opportunity to leverage their work and life experience in ways that benefit both the community and your business. Along the path of doing good, new connections, or relationships, are created. And, many intangible elements of a successful business like loyalty, communication and culture, are strengthened. As you increase your community presence, you build your brand and strengthen name recognition. Employees are happier, and teams are stronger—and that’s good for business!