Corporate social responsibility is generally something we relate to large businesses employing hundreds of people, after all these organisations have more of an impact on society. However, growing SMEs may still employ staff, deal with freelancers, clients, partners and the wider community. Any business’ activity will in some way affect the environment, the economy and society.
As any business grows, so will its footprint, and it’s corporate social responsibility that will determine whether that footprint is positive or negative. You’ll often find a company’s values will display the responsibilities most important to them, such as a commitment to being green, or giving back to the environment. Investing in staff gives them the opportunity to grow and develop, and even engage themselves in corporate social responsibility. Smaller, day-to-day to day changes are easily made such as stocking fair-trade tea and coffee in the kitchen, or using other eco-friendly products where possible.
Giles Fuchs, Co-Founder of Office Space in Town explains, “a considered SME corporate social responsibility policy is key for any ambitious business hoping to grow and can no longer be an afterthought. A business’ commitment to corporate social responsibility is now a benchmark by which to measure its appeal – younger workers have ranked corporate social responsibility as a key criterion of an employer, clients increasingly consider it as of equal value as cost and investors more and more want assurances that their investments are socially responsible.”
As part of Office Space in Town’s CSR they encourage staff to get involved in community work, and they can take time out of work to do so. Giving purpose to a role, particularly for Millennials is increasingly important, as Simon Sinek explains in his popular video asking ‘the millennial question.’
Involving your SME in CSR can be on a large or small scale, it can be global or local. Your business may lend itself perfectly to supporting a charity, or you may simply start by introducing better recycling procedures into the office. Weaving CRS into your core values and following through by making a real difference should positively impact the people involved in your business, the wider business environment, and overall make your business more responsible and more desirable to work for, or with. After all small businesses are generally more involved in the local community, more personable and innovative so making CSR a priority can only make sense for a thriving modern-day business.