Being a more socially conscious business these days involves more than just supporting a charity, these days it’s about making your business more socially conscious on a cultural level. Being able to act in ways that promote sustainability, ethical values, and social justice has a natural ability to benefit your business, not just because you are positioning yourself as a moral entity, but it also provides your business with that cultural currency that will attract new stakeholders and employees. How do you make your business socially conscious?
Learn to Engage Your Stakeholders
One of the most critical aspects of starting to become a more socially conscious business is to start engaging everybody in your journey. It’s more than just asking them to donate to charity every now and then, but about asking them for feedback, input, and support.
It’s critical that our stakeholders become a fundamental part of the organization rather than floating on the peripheries. Therefore, if we collaborate with them to create solutions that have been co-authored, this will affect so many aspects of our business and can stretch industry-wide. So many organizations learn the importance of engaging with stakeholders when it’s way too late. Stakeholders are there to be respected and should be involved with every step of the journey.
Cultivate Continuous Improvements and Innovations
In order to be more socially conscious, we have to look inward as well as outward. When we are monitoring and evaluating our individual impacts on a social and environmental level, we can identify what is working well and what needs improvement, which will, therefore, enhance our positives and reduce our negatives. As simple as it sounds, when we incorporate a practice like A/B testing, especially in relation to the technical aspects of our business, it allows us to adapt far more dynamically. It can be difficult to focus on continuous improvements, but it is critical that we continue to push forward because this will establish our business as a far more conscious and ethical entity in the wider public consciousness.
It becomes tougher to stop and look at how far we’ve come with every passing year, which is why those practices need to be in place at the very outset. Becoming more strategic in our understanding of the most pressing environmental or social matters will allow us to be more switched on. To become socially conscious, we have to keep our ears to the ground, but we also need to actively question our relationship with it rather than just accepting it as something that’s an essential box-ticking exercise.
Align Your Operations and Strategies
Businesses that have been going for many years could very well struggle to make the leap into the modern world because they’ve got a lot of soul-searching to do. Aligning our business goals, processes, policies, and practices with our ongoing social purpose may be a mountain to climb, but if we ensure that every decision and action we take is consistent with our principles, this will create a far more coherent business.
We should integrate environmental and social factors into each area of our business, whether it’s performance evaluation, risk management, and reporting. Once we align these two seemingly disparate components together, only then can we begin to cultivate a more socially conscious enterprise.
Address It on a Cultural Level
The employees in your business are the key to conveying your newfound principles, but it becomes tougher to embed it when there’s resistance within the ranks. Making cultural change within an organization will not occur overnight, but it begins with understanding your employees’ position on social consciousness on an ethical or moral level. Do they do things to minimize their carbon footprints when they are on your business premises, for example, cycling to work? Are they being socially conscious outside of work, or do they believe it’s something that is your responsibility?
When we look at providing employees with specific perks that make it easier to work for us, only then can we ask more of them. It’s important to address it on a cultural level because it allows businesses to make seismic changes over time that will not just impact how we do business, but it will attract a greater caliber of colleagues.
Learning to make your business socially conscious is about having a number of components in place, but it’s also about making sure that you have the desire to do this in the first place. Lots of organizations view this as some form of box-ticking exercise, but if you want to make your business socially conscious, you’ve got to believe in it.