Corporate Citizenship strategies transcend trendy and build business value
Studying trends for 2021 planning is not about keeping up with Jones, Inc. (or the Jones B-Corp). It’s a proven way to identify strategies that will drive value in the year ahead.
To wit: have you considered your corporate character strategies in the planning mix? Georgians’ access to information about generous corporate behaviors and character inform strategy in ways that make for smart business and healthier communities.
Consider these corporate citizenship trends and tactical ways to embrace them for your company’s benefit next year.
- Embed positive societal impact goals into core business strategy. To evolve in this direction, you might purchase from vendors that benefit disadvantaged populations, reduce or offset environmental footprint, align business decisions to one central purpose statement, share un-used business assets with non-profits, or incorporate racial awareness into routine hiring, training and review processes. These core business execution efforts hold great value for demonstrating true corporate character and driving exponential value.
- Consider your day-to-day decisions’ impacts on everyone your business touches. The idea of Stakeholder Capitalism has enjoyed increasing support, including among members of the Business Roundtable, and the World Economic Forum. You can join businesses gaining loyalty and advocacy by making decisions that balance the needs of all stakeholders: employees, shareholders, supply chain partners, community members and the environment.
- Craft and communicate your business’ community support efforts with a nod to the fact that everyone hopes you’ll address their individual priorities. Each employee, recruit, customer and neighbor wishes your business would help solve their passion point issue … and that can sound untenable to leaders. You don’t have to meet their desire, but acknowledge it, and foster it only to a degree that’s feasible for your company. You might embrace ways to let individuals volunteer or donate their gifts to diverse causes. Or pick one cause aligned with your purpose and invite everyone to participate in personally acceptable ways. Either strategy is sound when backed up by leadership communication and acknowledgement of their energy.
- Create and tell a memorable story. The flip side of fostering employees’ passion points is ensuring you have at least one memorable story of how you solved a particular need. The world’s needs are broad (consider the handy framework of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Spreading yourself thin can reduce your ability to both make a difference and make a memorable mark with your stakeholders. Consider setting one goal for a cause that’s relevant to your purpose, business model and community. Your people’s inclination to talk about it at their dinner table is a clear measure of your business value.
- It’s a sure bet that 2021 will bring more stresses and shifts. Consider how you want to invest in building trust to help your business relationships and loyalty survive them. Trust research shows that integrity, purpose and dependability drive 76% of a business’ trust profile versus 24% driven by competence. Demonstrating transparency, empathy for your people and care for community needs will help you deepen relationships and build the needed bank of goodwill.
Good luck in the days and months ahead. We’re confident that demonstrating care while making a profit is a winning approach for 2021.