With success comes even greater responsibility. As business owners, we are not only responsible for the growth of our companies, but also our employees, partners, and customers. Although we are all very generous about giving on an individual basis, the power of doing good is much higher collectively.
Even if your company has a small team, contributing to the larger good has returns like no other investments.
Employees want to work for a socially responsible company.
Many years ago, I worked for a large biotech giant in California that manufactured medicines for unmet medical needs, thus helping save lives. When you drove through their campus, you would be struck by large billboards featuring their patients. It was inspirational! We all aspire to work for a company that is making a true difference, whether it is saving lives or another cause. Working for a company that is not just about profits and doing the right thing matters to most people. Millennials want to work for a company they believe in and are driven by the act of social good. If you want to attract this talent of the future make sure your company values giving back.
Foster a positive culture and teamwork.
Motivating teams and bringing them together to collaborate on projects is key to the success and growth of companies. We often pay big dollars to organize team building events. Here is a simple idea, find a cause and encourage your entire team’s participation. Sign up for causes like Habitat for Humanity or volunteering at a food bank. Imagine the team dynamics and collaboration it takes to fix a new roof, paint walls, or serve food to people who might otherwise go hungry. You are offering an exceptional way for your team to bond and this translates into working cohesively in the workspace.
Your employees spend on average between 40-60 hours at your workplace each week. Sign up as a team to train for a marathon while raising funds for a worthy cause. It will help keep your employee morale high while encouraging them to stay healthy
Build a strong brand by giving back.
You are already making extensive efforts in giving back, why not build a brand around that value? Let your industry colleagues and customers know about your efforts to give back. You will inspire others to do more if you share what you are passionate about.
Align with your customers’ values.
A few years ago I was meeting with a director of procurement. While talking about my company, our strengths, and mission, I was asked what differentiates us from our competitors. What clinched the deal was that many of our values aligned with those of the prospect, especially that of giving back to the community.
We all operate in a very competitive market and being able to differentiate is imperative to our growth. Customers want to work with suppliers that align with their core values. Whether the company is large or small, ultimately, we are dealing with human beings that care about their communities.
So where do we begin? I believe there are five pillars around which we can focus our endeavors of giving back:
Your local community - This is the community where your employees live and work. Pick a cause that is local to your area. For instance, we chose the Race for Literacy Project, a fundraiser that aims to eliminate childhood illiteracy in India. We have supported the cause for over eight years now along with several large enterprises in the area. Sign up for the cause and be consistent in your participation.
Society and global good - This is the larger society; the world we live in and causes that help improve the quality of life around the globe. For instance, you could adopt an orphanage in another part of the country, or support women business owners from developing countries. Or, when natural disasters hit, you can work with World Vision or the Red Cross to offer company matches not just for your employees, but also to your clients for contributions.
Environmental conservation - Take conservation a bit further than just within your home. You can aim to reduce your carbon footprint by following the tenet “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. Find out about your county’s green certification. Sustainability is a huge initiative of large enterprises and they will appreciate you taking the lead on this.
Fueling the economy and creating jobs - President Obama stated that “Small Business Owners are the backbone of the nation’s economy”. We can help create jobs. As you expand your national footprint and you hire employees, you continue to fuel the economy.
Diversity – If you are a part of an organization such as WBENC, you are in the right place. There are several opportunities to volunteer at programs and events and these can help distinguish your brand. Diversity and inclusion are key for large enterprises and we are all concerned about girls in technology. If you are a staffing organization, you can partner with STEM-focused organizations to help build a diverse talent pipeline for the future.
Always strive to be a good corporate citizen and you will see the returns in ways you have never imagined.
As the Founder of Akraya, a global award-winning solutions staffing firm, Sonu Ratra is a strong believer that with success comes responsibility. Over the years, she has been an avid supporter for women’s empowerment and is currently spearheading an initiative called “Women Back to Work,” a workforce re-entry program for women.