Corporate social responsibility. It's not a buzz word or hot topic, but it should be on your radar. Why? Because corporate social responsibility has the potential to benefit the community around you AND your company.
What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Basically, it's the concept that businesses should have a larger, positive impact on society. It encourages businesses to move beyond just generating a profit for the owner. There are many ways to do this: financially, environmentally and through outreach.
When you talk about social responsibility and construction, sustainability and environmentally friendly processes are some great ways to make a positive impact on the world around your company. Recycling, lean construction, reducing waste, reusing materials, energy saving, alternative fuels, sustainable designs; there are so many ways construction companies can incorporate sustainability into their everyday. It's good for your company, and it's good for the environment. Plus, many customers only want to work (or are required to work) with companies using sustainable practices.
Philanthropy is another aspect of corporate social responsibility. Philanthropy refers to donating (typically money) to people, organizations or purposes. This may be the most visible form of corporate social responsibility because it is usually the one companies like to promote. Donate to a cause or charity. Sponsor a local event.
Not all corporate social responsibility initiatives have to involve money. You can also donate your time through outreach. For construction, a great option is to work with local schools or community organizations to offer guest speakers, teaching assistance or hands-on learning opporunities. The construction industry is in dire need of skilled laborers. Working with local schools or community programs with the goal of helping others gain valuable skills that could provide them a career is a great corporate social responsibility initiative that can have an additional benefit of helping your company when it comes to hiring new workers.
You and your employees can also volunteer your time. Volunteer for a local fundraiser or help out at a local soup kitchen or any place of goodwill that relies on volunteers from the community.
Don't forget your employees
An additional aspect of corporate social responsibility is your company's responsibility to its employees. The big one here is making sure you pay your employees fair wages and provide them a safe working environment. Without them, your company would not exist, and you have a responsibility to treat them well. There are other ways to make a positive impact with your employees as well.
According to Karen L. Inman, President and Chief Operating Officer at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, companies who want to attract and retain skilled labor employees need to look for meaningful ways to incentivize, going beyond a "traditional" benefits package with socially responsible initiatives. Inman is a well-respected leader among her employees and her peers in the roofing industry. Her unique approach to employee relations has strengthened Antis’s reputation as a company that is fully invested in providing flawless service to clients while focusing on employee and community development.
“Through our Give to Grow approach to CSR, Antis also supports employee-driven volunteer/charitable initiatives,” Inman says. “By offering creative incentives that support your employees’ purpose and passions, you are fostering loyalty and creating an environment where people feel respected and valued.” Inman suggests offering paid time for employees to volunteer during work hours and company matching for employee charitable donations.
Inman's most important tip is to give generously to your employees before you give elsewhere. Corporate social responsibility initiatives geared toward your employees let them know they are valued and respected. An employee who feels valued and respected is more likely to stay with a company and give their best work.
What are the benefits?
The most obvious benefit, and pretty much the point of CSR, is the larger, positive impact on your company, employees and surrounding community or larger community as a whole. But there are secondary benefits to CSR as well.
According to Double the Donation, businesses can benefit in multiple ways from CSR.
- Improve public image
- Increase media coverage
- Boost employee engagement
- Attract and retain investors
In additions, Double the Donation points out four ways employees benefit from CSR:
- Positive workplace environment where employees feel engaged and productive
- Stronger connection to the company
- Encourages professional and personal growth
- Promotes individual philanthropy where employees may engage in their own philanthropic activities outside of work as well
Do you have CSR initiatives?
Does your company have corporate social responsibility initiatives? Have you found them to be a benefit to the community and your company?
Do you think CSR is important for construction companies?
Share your thoughts with ForConstructionPros.com.