ENGAGEMENT

It felt like just a couple of years ago when corporate social responsibility (CSR) was seen as an unnecessary investment to fulfil the (then) pretentious triple bottom line and keep up with society’s uppity moral facade.

Oh how the winds have changed.

According to a recent article by Huffington Post, 64% of CEOs are paying closer attention to how CSR plays its part in corporations. As the business landscape continues to evolve, trust becomes the most important currency, where businesses are vying to gain consumers’ trust in return for unwavering support. This translates inevitably to greater investment into CSR initiatives for businesses.

Here are some insights on how you can jump on the bandwagon and up your CSR game in the coming 2018:

1. Taking a stand is more important than ever

As consumers gain trust in corporations, they will increasingly look towards them to take a firm stance on moral and ethical issues – businesses are now obligated to take responsibility beyond their business operations. This can mean anything from being more accountable towards carbon footprints of their company and stakeholders, to taking a stance on employing people of special needs. While it is not possible to pay attention to every single issue, companies need to determine for themselves how relevant each issue is to the business and be reactive accordingly.

More often than not, companies are hesitant to express overt opinions on issues, especially if they are of a controversial or contentious nature in fear of offending those who oppose. However, in 2017, customers care about a company stance on social issues as much as what product they are selling. Taking a stand helps with corporate branding tremendously, as customers feel that they are connecting on a more emotional level as compared to if companies stick to politically correct statements without much impact.

2. Engaged employees are your key ingredient

Many companies focus too much on the customer side of things, without realizing that one key stakeholder is often left out of the mix – employees. While companies do understand that employee happiness is key to organizational success, but few know exactly how to go about do it. While there is of course no hard and fast rule, increasing your company’s social responsibility while communicating your business’s higher level purpose is one way to do it – while attracting the best talent.

Millennials, who will soon make up close to 50% of the workforce by 2020, are particularly drawn to companies with a strong sense of purpose and meaning to do greater good in society. As brand ambassadors, they can serve as living and breathing exemplifications of your company’s mission and values.

3. The time to integrate is now or never

In 2017, companies are making the transition to long-term commitment with CSR – marrying social impact with their business mission and essentially making CSR the core of their business. Companies can no longer ‘get away’ with a project-based CSR activity. Without a solid social mission to boot, the business objective can hardly stand the test of time.

Serving a social mission that benefits more than company profits is one way to show the sincerity towards the commitment to society. In addition, this is also an excellent way to promote a positive brand reputation among your company’s stakeholders.