As the world becomes more interconnected, consumers are increasingly aware of the societal and environmental impacts of their purchasing decisions. Businesses that fail to take into account the growing demand for socially responsible practices are at risk of losing customers and harming their reputations.
However, implementing social responsibility programs can be daunting, especially for newer or smaller businesses. Not to worry–we’ve compiled a list of four easy and impactful ways to make your business more socially responsible, starting today:
1. Pay Your Employees a Living Wage
As the cost of living continues to rise, more and more employees are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Despite working full-time, many are forced to rely on food stamps and other forms of public assistance just to get by.
The key to any business’s profitability is keeping expenses low. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing your employees’ well-being in the process.
When workers are struggling, they are less productive and more likely to call in sick. This can lead to higher turnover rates, as well as increased costs for training and retraining new employees. Moreover, employees who are paid a livable wage are more likely to spend their money on goods and services, stimulating economic growth in your area.
Paying your employees a living wage is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business. It’s shortsighted to think that you can save money by paying your workers as little as possible. When you invest in your employees, they will repay you with loyalty and hard work—all while helping to grow your business.
2. Implement Green Policies and Practices
As the effects of climate change become more and more apparent, it’s clear that we all need to do our part to protect the environment. And while some people may view going green as a costly investment with no immediate payoff, the truth is that implementing green policies and practices can save businesses money in the long run.
Not to mention, today’s consumers are increasingly interested in doing business with socially responsible companies. By making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint, you can not only help to slow the progression of climate change, but you can also improve your bottom line and build goodwill with your customer base.
You don’t have to make major changes all at once—even small steps like recycling office paper or encouraging employees to carpool can make a difference. And as you become more familiar with sustainable practices, you can slowly start to integrate them into other areas of your business.
3. Give Back to the Community
Business leaders often talk about the importance of giving back to the community, but all too often, they fail to walk the walk. If you want your business to be truly socially responsible, then you need to find ways to give back that go beyond writing a check once a year.
There are a variety of activities you can participate in to help your community. You can volunteer your time or donate goods and services to local charities. You can also partner with other businesses to support causes that are important to you. No matter how you choose to get involved, remember that the key is to be authentic in your efforts and to focus on giving back for the right reasons.
4. Promote Diversity and Inclusion
Despite the progress that has been made in recent years, the business world is still largely dominated by white men. But if we want to create truly inclusive workplaces, then we need to do better.
Promoting diversity and inclusion should be a top priority for all businesses, regardless of size or industry. After all, diverse teams are not only more innovative, but they are also better able to understand and serve the needs of a diverse customer base.
You can start by ensuring that your hiring practices are fair and inclusive. You can also create employee resource groups, offer training on unconscious bias, and make a commitment to diversifying your supplier base. By taking these steps, you can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace—and a better business.
4. Hiring Ex-offenders
On that note, another way to promote social responsibility in the workplace is to focus on hiring ex-offenders. All too often, the mainstream media portray ex-offenders as dangerous criminals who are not to be trusted—aside from white-collar crime, of course.
Contrary to what we see on TV, most ex-offenders are hardworking, honest people who just want a chance to rebuild their lives. These are prisoners who continued learning and growing while in prison and have taken important steps to turn their lives around.
Giving them a chance to work for your business is not only good for them, but it’s also good for your bottom line. Studies have shown that ex-offenders who are employed are less likely to reoffend than those who are not, especially if it is a well-paying job.
Hiring ex-offenders not only helps to reduce recidivism rates but also helps to break the cycle of poverty and despair that so often leads to crime in the first place—making your community a safer and better place for everyone.
Businesses that adopt even a few of these practices can make a big difference in the world, and they’ll be rewarded with the goodwill and loyalty of consumers who are looking for companies that share their values.
As more and more consumers become aware of the importance of social responsibility, it’s only a matter of time before they start demanding it from the businesses they patronize. So if you want to stay ahead of the curve, start implementing these practices now.