At the beginning of this month, we outlined how a priority for organisations this year will be doing more with less in terms of CSR and social value. At the close of last year, 9.9 million jobs were actively furloughed. And, while essential to you or I, CSR, social value, or purpose departments are often the first to be dropped.
So, with the likelihood of decreased staff numbers and resources in mind, how can you continue to maximise your social value on a budget? We’ve put together six of our top tips to take with you through the rest of this year and beyond.
Align efforts with the wider business
This one is about finding initiatives that are good for the world while also being good for your business. Do what’s easily within your reach.
During tough times, your products or services come first. But if you can also give back to society as you do this, why wouldn’t you? Not all social value needs to be intentional. Sometimes the accidental wins that happen naturally alongside operating are all you can afford, and that’s okay.
You could switch to supporting small or local businesses in your supply chain, pumping money into your community. Speaking of which, you could run apprenticeship programmes to upskill young or willing people in your area. And if you have suppliers or people who support your operations, why not look for those who have a similar sustainable ethos? It doesn’t have to be about the grand gestures, just the small changes that add up into a greater effort.
Take note of what you’re already doing
Ask yourself: is there any social value currently slipping through the cracks of your reporting? Because your organisation and its staff will be having far more of an impact than you’re probably aware.
Sometimes boosting your social impact generation is as simple as widening the net of what you’re reporting on. If you’ve switched to a paperless operation in recent years, are you remembering to log how many documents you haven’t had to print? This is the perfect example of a daily part of your business that you might not see as social impact. The more wins you can document, the better.
Engage your employees
Think of all your staff as foot soldiers on the ground of the social value battlefield. Motivating and inspiring your workforce to want to make a difference, and giving them the space and freedom to do so, can work wonders to maximise your social value.
Purpose-driven companies report 40% higher levels of workforce retention. Your staff are an untapped resource who want to make a difference and help you do more. So find some ways to let them. Let them engage in causes that matter to them as a representative of your company. A charity drive, for instance. And, like above, report on as much as you can.
Look at your requirements of others
Your organisation’s social impact is about more than what happens within your four walls. Anyone your organisation works with is also an opportunity for adding value.
For example, in construction supply chains, be stricter with your criteria for working together. What are their social value goals? Are they sourcing sustainable building materials? Hold them to a higher standard and make sure you’re always opting for the more socially responsible businesses.
Publicise your wins
A big benefit of socially responsible organisations is the far superior reputation that comes with it. CSR is responsible for over 40% of a business’s reputation.
So in the absence of the funding to begin new initiatives, why not make the most of everything you’ve already achieved? Publicise your wins on every platform and channel you have. Spread the word about all the great things your business has done. Connect with your audience over shared values and purpose. Get a buzz going about your business, so when you can start new initiatives, you have greater momentum to build off.
Stay fluid in your efforts
During the past year, and for at least another year, COVID will continue to impact all that we can do for social value. The goal posts are constantly changing. Which is why to do more with less, it’s essential for your organisation to remain fluid and adaptable. Rather than throwing what little resources you do have into big, long-term initiatives, add value little and often to the most pressing causes of the moment.
For example, right now, some of the key concerns are about how society is coping. Local businesses are struggling. People’s mental health is suffering in this third national lockdown. And parents have the stressful burden of being both an earner and teacher for the family. These are the areas where you should be making a difference.
The pandemic has certainly made having an impact more difficult for all of us, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are still opportunities out there and plenty of options to maximise your social value on a budget. Any combination of the above will be a great place to start.
Impact Reporting makes your organisation’s social value efforts simple. By effortlessly managing and visualising your CSR and social value, there’s no reason your business can’t start leading the way. If you’d like to find out more, give us a call on 0161 532 4752.