Corporate social responsibility isn’t just for corporations. Businesses varying in size are understanding that maximizing profits by cutting corners and succumbing to environmental and social irresponsibility is not in their best interest.
In fact, profits are coming from a concept not focusing on maximizing profits, but instead focusing on what a company can do environmentally and socially to impact the world in a better way. This is having a profound impression on how customers view businesses. Ultimately, your image will be the determining factor on whether or not they’ll conduct business with you.
As a small business owner, adopting corporate social responsibility theories can help you thrive right out of the gate. Read below to find out the significance corporate social responsibility can have on your business.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the way you treat your employees has a direct impact on your business. If your employees are unhappy, it will negatively show in your business. But if you recognize the value of your employees and go above and beyond to show them, it will improve all business operations. Creating a work climate in which people would enjoy being under your employ will have numerous benefits for your small business.
Managing an ethical workplace motivates your employees as it makes them feel valued. Making your employees feel valued will also reflect upon your company’s image. It would be prudent of you to develop amicable working conditions — non-discriminatory, fair hiring processes, reasonable work-to-pay ratio, as well as attention to physical and mental demands — that will not only attract new employees, but retain devoted workers.
We have all seen the public outrage when companies ignore environmental guidelines and/or neglect their employees. Businesses can take on a negative image and profits can plummet. Corporate social responsibility prompts businesses to make decisions limiting their carbon footprint by adopting sustainability methods and strongly encourages your company to give back to its community via charitable services. Along with the virtuous contributions to the environment and society, your company will build a positive image.
In a time where environmental and social consciousness is valued, consumers and employees alike will resonate better with an ethical company, building trust and loyalty. Customers will be hard pressed to conduct business with a company that is socially and environmentally irresponsible, and someone else’s positive image will attract them elsewhere. Your image is not only a way to show the consumer to conduct business with you, it is also a way for your business to demonstrate to the consumer your commitment to the environment and community.
With any expenditure aimed at bettering employees, the environment, and community instead of maximizing profits for shareholders, there arises the conflict between shareholders and corporate social responsibility. However, this conflict is outdated and coldhearted. Shareholders are starting to see the benefits of employee and customer satisfaction, and with the growing concern of environmental issues and social responsibilities, younger generations are backing companies who align with their interests.
Furthermore, shareholders are starting to observe the power of a positive image, while seeing a large amount of spending going to damage control. The public outcry from an environmental disaster such as an oil spill or violating the pay laws of your employees will cost your business much more than the expenses of being socially responsible. Whether you are profit or interest driven, the larger ROI for shareholders is to invest in the socially responsible business.
Corporate social responsibility is a win-win for all businesses, not just corporations. For your small business, each employee, shareholder, and consumer carries more weight. It is in your best interest to create an ethical work environment for your employees while creating a positive image to attract and retain customers and shareholders. The downside of not maintaining social responsibility for a small business can be catastrophic, while the adoption of corporate social responsibility can help you gain all the aforementioned benefits.
Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two from Portland, Oregon. She enjoys writing about marketing and SEO, as well as supporting small businesses in her local community.
Studied corporate social responsibility back in college as part of PR. CSR can be in many forms like you mentioned, beginning with internal (employees, operations) and external (charity, clients). The best CSR practice for me that is applicable for small businesses is serving foundations or charities as pro bono and extended them services regularly instead of giving a one time foundation.