We all love a company with values. Knowing that a company cares and stands up for what they believe in – or does what they say they will – makes us want to be a part of their story. They are the ones we want to work for. We buy from those businesses. Values matter.
But – and it’s a big but – there’s talking about values, and then there’s actually living them. What am I talking about?
Let’s talk about corporate responsibility
When we talk about Corporate Responsibility (CR), we’re considering the impact that business has on society. A business should have a CR policy that considers how it will affect the environment, the economy, and the workforce.
But it’s one thing to acknowledge a corporate responsibility. It’s another to actually put it into practice as a core driver of your business, as a value that all your policies, practices, and people uphold.
Box ticking Corporate Responsibilities
Social media has thrust businesses into the spotlight in a totally new way. Now they can shout about their values and parade their CR. But what so many don’t seem to realise is that we are paying attention. And that means we can see when a business is just making a noise without backing it up.
Let’s look at some examples!
- June was Pride month. Our social feeds turned into a riot of colour. Almost every business washed in rainbows throughout June . . . and then switched it all off on July 1st, doing nothing else for the other 11 months of the year.
- Wellbeing and mental health are big buzzwords right now – but they should be more than that. Buying fruit for your workplace and taking a picture for social media does not show that that you care about employee wellbeing.
- There’s a big focus on work/life balance – it all leads back to wellbeing. Don’t send emails at unsociable hours with a signature saying that you don’t expect a reply as it’s out of worktime. Just schedule it to go at 9am the next working day, so they can avoid reading it and not being able to un-see it. You have to walk the walk, every day.
- Another side effect of social media is the poll. Often used by companies to boost engagement, they can also be effective tools for crowdsourcing. But if you are going to create a poll, follow it up with some feedback or insight into the results to thank the participants for their help.
Embed all-year values
Being more inclusive by embracing diversity isn’t an annual event. It should be a core value of your business. As should caring about your employee wellbeing, and their right to a home life as well. Holding on to values shows respect, both for your team and your customers.
The problem with paying lip service to CR is that it’s all done publicly – and the public do notice. So, instead of jumping on awareness days and making a token effort, it’s time to be real. Embed these values into your whole business, from the top down.
If you do, you’ll find that your business benefits. Your team will have values and feel valued. That promotes a happier, more productive workforce – and that benefits your customers, too.
If you’d like to have more real conversations, let’s talk. Call me today on 01926 671613 to see how I can help your business build a happier, successful team, that lives its values every day.