Your Social Responsibility As An Entrepreneur
If you are a business owner, you have a social responsibility – you are responsible for your actions in the society, how you deal with the environment, how you take into account people’s emotions, including your customers, employees, vendors and shareholders. An entrepreneur doesn’t just run a company, he makes sure he leaves something good behind for the next generation. Ignoring the corporate social responsibility instantly spells disaster. If you take a little time out of your busy schedule and spend them to inculcate fair trade practices, use renewable resources and undertake sustainable measures to conduct your business.
Here is what Starbucks did to win the trust and confidence of its employees.
Starbucks started a health insurance plan to all its employees. And apart from that, it offered stock options and 401 (k) plan and a new program whereby workers who wanted to study in Arizona State University’s online tuition program would be able to study for free as Starbucks pays for their fees. Even when the investors pressurized the company to let go of the health care benefits, Starbucks held firm even when the stocks started slipping. This eventually lead to corporate goodwill where employees stayed loyal and hardworking at the company. The result – the company did not have to spend time and money in hiring and training, whereas other fast-food chains did not have that advantage.
Now look at another company, which started really small, but grew successful and popular because of its community service. Tom’s non-polluting laundry detergent was the result of the efforts of a man named Tom Chappel who was keen on doing something good for the environment and community. It was this decision that brought him success eventually and now his company is not only famous for selling natural detergent, but also for selling other products like toothpaste and deodorant. He also encouraged his employees to do community service in their spare time.
This way, plenty of other businesses are doing so much in their “ social responsibility” cadre. Did you know that many of the donations that come to the charitable organizations all over the world come from businesses, both big and small? In fact, many businesses are no longer concentrating on making cold, hard cash, but have also made it their mission to do activities that would bring universal good.
What caused entrepreneurs to take up social cause?
It is not possible to actually state exactly when and why businesses have discovered that doing social causes would be one way to win the support of the people. But undoubtedly it has been a real positive move. It could also be because you have so many startups today and many of them are run by young idealists. They are people who do business in the new way, revamping the old fashioned methods and their activities are getting media exposure as well.
When an entrepreneur is socially responsible, it means he drives social innovation and strives to bring about innovation in the field of health, enterprise development, education and environment. That doesn’t mean the entrepreneur has to necessarily use his business to save endangered species or be about green energy. But he can run his business in such a way that green methods are adopted and he gives back more than he takes from the environment. He should consider several factors like social equality, poverty and environment when taking business decisions.
The main steps you can take to become a social entrepreneur
Give whatever can be recycled to good causes If you are revamping your office and you are installing new computers, then don’t throw out the old ones. You can always give them away to an organization that collects such stuff. Maybe they will give these computers to schools or orphanages that require computers, but cannot afford to buy any. Similarly, you can donate all your electronic goods to local charities. You can even choose a non-profit organization to partner with, so the next time you want to give away something, you don’t have to waste time searching.
Identify and work towards eradicating a social problem
This is actually one of the first steps in becoming a social entrepreneur. You have to identity any problem that affects the society as a whole and work towards removing it. If it is a problem caused by your company, then make sure you remove it as soon as possible. For example, polluting water bodies. Other social issues may include poverty, hunger, environmental damage, disease, political suppression and social inequality.
Make the “saving the environment program” a fun activity
After a while, people find it boring following the technical rules of keeping the environment clean and green. Make it a fun activity and your people would follow it faithfully. Similarly, you can also make recycling fun and inspirational.
Make a commitment and stay true to it
If you are committed to become a social entrepreneur then make sure you stay true to it. That is the biggest motivation for your people. They will be inspired to follow in the path of the social cause. This is especially important for big social problems because you will have to put in a long-term commitment, and change can happen only if you work on it relentlessly and patiently. Take up impactful issues in the society and implement changes to make a difference.
Finally, choose a cause and stick to it
In order to make an impactful change, you can decide on a particular cause, something that really needs to be changed in the society and go ahead with full focus.
Pictures: Flicker.com / Chemie-Verbände/ Love Green
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at www.Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.