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Top 10 ways to incorporate social value into your business

Chris Farrell, Managing Director of Impact Reporting, suggests 10 steps businesses should take to encourage employee involvement in corporate CSR activities

1 Let employees choose charities. Having a ‘charity of the year’ is the norm in corporate circles and asking staff to nominate a chosen charity can help make this process more democratic. Asking staff to vote for their favourite charity, then partnering with the winner will help with engagement.

2 Develop employee initiatives. Organise activities anyone can get involved in, such as lunchtime cycling or weekend volunteering. Open the floor to suggestions. The most popular ideas are often the most successful.

3 Build social value into client contracts. Insist that partner organisations prioritise social value too. This is the norm in public sector contracts and is becoming more common in other sectors. It is a sure-fire way to help organisations stand out in business circles.

4 Lead from the top. The most successful CSR-focused businesses have CEOs and MDs who are active and committed to a social value mission statement. To show how dedicated a business is to the cause, encourage the CEO/MD to get involved and become an example to all staff.

5 Adopt a framework. It’s now time to be serious about CSR. Paying lip-service won’t give businesses the desired results. Set real objectives, with fixed timeframes to work towards.

6 Align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Benchmark achievements against 17 global goals set by the UN in 2015 relating to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice. These offer accountability and assessment.

7 Gamify the creation of social value. Motivate employees by appealing to their competitive nature. For example, set up a leader board and offer prizes as incentives.

8 Start with the basics. Transforming a business’s attitude to social value is not an overnight process. It’s OK to start small – get rid of plastics, put recycling bins in place, ditch cars, use public transport, walk into work – and then scale up.

9 Listen to stakeholders. To embed social value into a business, it needs to align with the organisation’s mission, vision or values. It’s about working towards a culture in which social impact is created naturally and fluidly.

10 Work with pro-social companies. Be open to partnering with social enterprises, charities and other ‘good’ companies. Learn from each other, offer solutions and network with like-minded people. Move forward together.

Finally, it is vital to engage and educate colleagues on a company’s pro-social and pro-environmental activities by monitoring, measuring and reporting on achievements and progress. Impact Reporting cloud-based software provides a quick and easy way to capture and log relevant data, monitor progress and produce real-time reports. By automatically converting activities, such as funding charitable projects, launching a foundation, organising volunteering projects or introducing sustainability initiatives, into ‘social value’ data, it enables organisations to report social impact alongside financial results.

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