Social Responsibility is ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two.
It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment. This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding to engage in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals. Social responsibility must be intergenerational since the actions of one generation have consequences on those following.
According to a recent study by www.nielsen.com 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries say; they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact, Consumers around the world are saying that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions, this behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands.
Social responsibility is the most current dimension of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which corporations take active participation in social issues and community affairs. The target of responsibility is the stakeholders which includes the customers or the buying public. The perception of offering respect and satisfaction to customers is nothing new to businesses but being responsible to customers creates an impact on profitability.
The consumers are more than essential to the business because without them, putting up a profit-generating firm is useless. Customers buy the products or services which they think can benefit them. It simply would not work if there is no support from the buying public.
Being socially responsible is not only a responsibility all entrepreneurs have, but it also helps build a lasting relationship with your community. Moreover, consumers don’t only expect companies to provide great products and services anymore, but also to help the community in which they operate.
Besides the moral factor, socially conscious companies often create positive work environments and have dynamic ideologies that attract top talent. The best prospects are likely to choose a company that has an active role in their community and that dedicates some of its resources to helping others.
social responsibility is not a way to drive profits but a way to do good for society while profits will come naturally. Here is how you can make your brand more socially responsible;
1.Ethical labor practices.
When you think about social responsibility, the first things to come to mind are donations and volunteering. However, social consciousness starts from within. Make sure you follow ethical labor practices, for instance:
• Treat your employees with respect and dignity
• Value their work
• Enable growth opportunities within your company
• Provide fair compensation for their services
• Create a safe and healthy work environment
2. Collaborate with likeminded businesses
Collaborating with other companies and organizations that have a similar mentality can help you have a bigger impact than you would on your own. Joining other local, and sometimes national companies for a cause can help you make a super-charged donation or organize an amazing fundraiser.
Partnering up with another organization can help you get more funding and it can help you find creative ways to allocate other resources into charitable work.
3. Make your effort last.
It’s important to understand that social consciousness is not a public relations stunt or one-time attempt. You need to take social responsibility seriously and treat it for what it is: an ongoing effort to help a good cause in your community.
Always try to contribute on a regular basis, host an annual event, and make scheduled contributions to a good cause. Organize yourself properly and set realistic expectations to make sure you can continuously help your community.
For example, Recently the King of Buganda; Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II fundraised money through his birthday run campaign, proceeds from this run were directed towards fighting the sickle cell disease in Uganda. Airtel Uganda together with the kingdom of Buganda launched the Kabaka birthday run. The run has become an annual affair, celebrating both the birthday of the King, while providing a platform for a social responsibility cause.
Photo credit: http://www.newvision.co.ug
Even if it is believed that the buying decisions really depend on the customers in the end, ethical business practices still add plus points and increase a good reputable image to them. For the most part, businesses adapt towards their customer’s wants and needs. However, if gaining profit is all there is to the existence of a certain business without fulfilling social responsibilities, your customers may eventually look for firms that have similar product quality but this time with a better customer service approach.
To reiterate, the nature of business now goes beyond gaining profit to establishing a connection with the stakeholders in order to gain general acceptance from the larger community. This only means that the customers’ roles have evolved from the central target as buyers to equally important stakeholders who have a great contribution to the success of any brand.
4. Create a social responsibility mission.
social responsibility should become a part of your brand that shapes your values and the everyday choices that are made by executives, managers, and employees.
An effective socially responsible mission should focus on:
• Authenticity. Half-hearted donations and charity events won’t be effective in the long-term.
• Minimizing harm. Think about how you can minimize the negative consequences of your brand like reducing your carbon footprint, paying employees appropriately, and, manufacturing safe, high-quality products.
• Thinking locally. For example, your social media manager could donate their time by helping a local non-profit launch a social media public relations campaign.
• Focusing on efforts that promote passion and teamwork among your team.
• Being transparent about any setbacks that your brand has experienced while becoming more socially conscious and sharing the progress that you’ve made.
5. Target good talent.
Don’t underestimate the power of your current employees. More often than not, your current team are equally as powerful as your consumers in getting the word out about business practices.
Encourage your employees to get involved with CSR work. Not only do they want to make a social difference, they want to do something different in the workplace. Happy, engaged employees speak powerfully about your company and will tell others about it.
They’ll share with their social network online, they’ll discuss with friends, and in a short space of time the buzz around your brand will grow. Candidates want to work somewhere where they can see that people are happy. Your workforce can be a hidden and underutilised gem in attracting top talent, engage them!