• Jennifer Healy

CSR: Community Support Response

This is the first in a series of articles based upon the myriad of ways in which the initialisms that represent Corporate Social Responsibility can be used to explain what the CSR actually means.

The homepage of my new website (yes, take a look!), sums Corporate Social Responsibility up as 'making connections between business and the community'. That's my take on things and it's what I do. However, unpacking how that's achieved unleashes a whole host of initialisms. Take a look below for the first one, and subscribe to the website to have each new blog sent straight to your inbox regularly:

Community Support Response

  • Do people in your local community approach your business for support?

  • Have you been invited to local schools, colleges, APCs or universities to attend a careers event?

  • Are you invited to sponsor local events that benefit your community, customers or even client base?

  • Are your competitors being invited?

If they are, and you're not, it's time to begin thinking about what they're doing, and what they're offering that you may not be.

It may be the way in which others respond to these opportunities; they may have a dedicated member of their team who reacts to these requests; it may also be the way in which they present themselves as a business open to requests from the community they serve.

All too often Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are instigated by those looking to benefit from your company, rather than the other way round. If this applies to your business, you are certainly missing a trick!

Finding out how your community would like to be supported will help to build you a reputation for being inclusive, diverse, proactive and forward-thinking.

You may be thinking things like:

  • So how do these initiatives support my business goals?

  • Don't they take time?

  • What will my employees think if we start working on things that have nothing to do with our business?

We've already touched on your reputation - being a transparent, social business that's involved in local community initiatives not only builds a great reputation, but also builds awareness. Think of the magnificent Chocolate Factory that Charlie discovers - closed to the public and a total mystery for years but behind the scenes an incredible business that no-one was aware of!

When it comes to employee engagement and retention, there are a huge number of studies that show businesses with good (and active) CSR policies in place tend to have a much lower staff turnover and a much higher degree of team satisfaction. It's all about doing the right thing.

Our team are taking part in a MacMillan Virtual Escape Room activity with members of our extended team: those who we're looking to bring on board as we grow; team mates who no longer work with us but are still incredibly important. JHI may be relatively small but we are loved, and we like to cheer each other on. Many of us have been affected by losing a loved one to cancer and this is an easy way for us to give back whilst getting together over a glass of wine or a cuppa.

I recently presented to the Mums in Business Ipswich Networking group, discussing how even the smallest business can create a CSR programme to make them more visible and to take information to a larger audience - it provoked a great conversation.

Start a conversation with your community - ask questions and find out how you can get involved. Talk to us if you'd like help with starting the conversation - how to begin; who to talk to and let's formulate a strategy that'll help you, your team and your local community.

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