Corporate Social Responsibility CSR – are you socially responsible

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  is a grand title, and the addition of the word “corporate” is not necessarily appropriate. All businesses, large and small are affected by the environment around them. Whether it is the labour market supply, availability of training or transport links, the local community impacts on business. In return all businesses have social responsibilities towards communities to avoid pollution, sustain the local economy and respect community bodies. Along with shareholders, customers and employees, the local community has a stake in the business, be it the steel industry in Port Talbot or fire hose manufacture in Bentham.

Discharging social responsibilities does not need a grand title. Employing local people, training employees, providing a service, are examples of the social responsibility taken by most businesses. Even small businesses can reward its community stakeholders. Here are some ideas, most of which I have promoted at some time in my career:

  • Give a career talk to a school
  • Sponsor local competitions, sports events or the arts
  • Bring a child-to-work day (subject to satisfactory risk assessments)
  • Charity day, support a local charity, encourage payroll giving
  • Community action – e.g. make a garden on derelict land (great team-building)
  • Open day
  • Offer work experience to pupilsBe a guest speaker on a college course
  • Encourage employees to be school governors, magistrates or give other public service
  • Share over capacity, for example making a car park available to shoppers at the weekend

Such actions can improve your choice of future employees and create a positive local profile with various, often unseen, benefits. Employees also gain a greater sense of worth thus increasing productivity, improving quality of product or service and fostering retention.

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