by Robert W. Munley, III
In order to compete today, companies must demonstrate more than business savvy and superior customer service; they must differentiate themselves by demonstrating corporate social responsibility. Brands can distinguish themselves by taking a stand for social causes and adopting a philosophy of giving back. While this trend has taken off among larger corporations, it also presents an opportunity for small businesses like ours to connect with the communities we serve.
For a consumer-based business, corporate social responsibility can be a competitive advantage. Many consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a company that they see as responsible in their business practices or beneficial to the community.
But consumers are just one piece of the puzzle. Demonstrating corporate social responsibility is also a powerful way to attract and retain top talent in your organization. This is especially true among young people. The next generation of workers are purpose-driven and want to know that their work matters. For millennial employees, a job is about more than just a paycheck; it is an opportunity to take part in a mission.
There are a few key ways businesses can practice corporate social responsibility in today’s market. One example is being environmentally conscious. As many people know, Starbucks got rid of plastic straws this year, in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic that enters our oceans. This was a largely well-received campaign, and many corporations are now looking to follow in those footsteps. Businesses can look to reduce their carbon footprint and take care of the environment if they want to be more socially responsible.
Another way to practice corporate social responsibility is to engage in philanthropy. This can involve donating to charities or local programs in the community. Something as common as Casual Friday can be a great way for businesses to give back as a team. For example, at Munley Law each member of our staff contributes a small monthly donation in order to participate in Casual Friday. Each month, we pool the contributions and donate to a different local organization. This is a small step that can have a big impact.
Companies should also be committed to the success of future generations. Our office offers scholarships to help young people attending local colleges and universities, like the University of Scranton, Johnson College and Marywood University. Awarding a scholarship can make a difference in the lives of individual students and enrich the entire community by investing in the next generation of leaders.
Of course, corporate social responsibility isn’t just about giving money. Donating time to a local cause can be just as impactful. Spending time face-to-face with the people in the community you serve allows you to forge a connection with your consumer base. Volunteering is also good for staff morale, team-building and cultivating a shared sense of purpose. Coming together off-site to serve meals at a local soup kitchen or participate in adoption events at the SPCA creates a spirit of goodwill in the company that lasts beyond that one good deed.
Incorporating one or more of these initiatives can account for so much positive change in a company. When a business is passionate about a cause or issue, it will attract passionate and like-minded employees. Giving back to the community fosters positive relationships with local organizations. Having a sense of purpose outside of running a financially successful business can increase productivity and a feeling of goodwill in any office. For all of these reasons, every business should look into how corporate social responsibility can be instituted in its workplace.
Businesses can set themselves apart by standing up for the “little guy” and helping those who cannot help themselves. This is especially true for small businesses in places like NEPA where community is paramount. Munley Law has been rooted in northeastern Pennsylvania for 60 years, and for generations this is where our family made their home. For the people at Munley Law, being a good neighbor is part of the company culture.
Robert W. Munley III is a seasoned personal injury attorney and courtroom advocate with a special focus in truck accidents and workers’ compensation. Learn more at munley.com.