Over the past few months, we’ve discussed the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR). We’ve answered questions including: What is it? Why should my organization care? And how can I get started?
For those who haven’t had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with CSR, we’d recommend visiting the articles below prior to reading this article:
In this article, we’d like to discuss how to implement CSR into your corporate governance. In other words, how can CSR become a part of your business’ processes, and how can you get your stakeholders on board?
Below are some ideas to help executives ensure board members are supportive of CSR moving forward.
What is Corporate Governance?
Firstly, what is corporate governance? Corporate governance is defined as the “structure of rules, practices and processes used to direct and manage a company.”
Corporate governance typically involves “balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders,” which might include:
- The government
- The community
- And so on
Corporate governance—often spearheaded by an organization’s board of directors—is responsible for “environmental awareness, ethical behavior, corporate strategy, compensation, and risk management,” which is exactly why CSR and corporate governance go hand-in-hand.
So, how do you implement CSR into your corporate governance?
Why Your Board Needs to Care About CSR
First and foremost, board members must understand that organizations can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to corporate social responsibility. CSR is extremely important to your employees, consumers and prospects.
We recognize that boards might not initially jump at the sound of CSR. This considered, boards may not see CSR initiatives as more than an expense on their organization’s balance sheet.
However, this is where some board members have it wrong.
Avoiding CSR only shows:
- A lack of understanding of its benefits, or
- A lack of understanding the importance of aligning your business with your human and social values
Although it may be challenging to gain buy-in, the benefits of implementing an effective CSR strategy far outweigh the costs. Use these strategies to highlight the pros of investing in CSR:
Show How CSR Improves Your Bottom Line
Implementing a CSR strategy of your own requires a hard look at current company finances. This type of initiative helps root out a company’s potential and can lead to greater insight into existing practices, greater profitability and a decrease in costs.
Not only does CSR benefit your community, but CSR also helps paint a picture of how your organization operates. When a community thrives as a result of your efforts, your organization is likely to garner more positive attention and support from the community benefitting from your outreach.
This considered, an effective, consistent CSR strategy can become an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Present Case Studies
Show your board CSR success stories. At Newcleus, we know how effective a powerful CSR program can be.
In fact, at Newcleus, we created a CSR program called ‘NewcleusGives’ to reflect our passion for philanthropy and assist our partners in creating impactful CSR programs of their own.
Through this initiative, we have developed opportunities for team volunteer time, a workplace giving program as well as a gift matching program.
Read on to hear about some of the CSR work our credit union branch has done with:
- The Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club
- A Shared Initiative, Inc.
- The Youth Sports Academy of Virginia
- The Boys & Girls Club of Nampa
Identify the Internal Benefits
Did you know that investments in CSR can result in:
- Overall improved company performance
- Improved recruitment
- Increased retention
You see, it’s not always about the positive changes that CSR brings to your balance sheet. Successful CSR initiatives create positive change in your community and in the world. Better yet, this positive change is then associated with your organization’s name.
Look at the Statistics
So, you’ve tried everything, and you still haven’t fully gained your board’s buy-in. When all else fails, look at the statistics.
As we mentioned in our first article on CSR, more than half of Americans believe it’s important for companies to take a stand on key social, environmental and political issues. Additionally, 70% of Americans believe it’s “somewhat” or “very important” for companies to make the world a better place.
The bottom line? CSR is important to the people you serve.
A Final Word
CSR is about more than just “doing the right thing.” It’s a strategic business model that can be used to your advantage. And the truth is, your organization cannot afford to miss out on implementing an effective CSR initiative.
Use the strategies above to show board members that CSR is more than just throwing money to the charity of your choice. It is an investment in your organization, its employees and your community.
To recap: Just like any other goal in life, your first step in achieving an objective is to set it. The first step to take action toward this goal is to get your board ‘onboard.’
- Adopt this objective
- Ensure your organization understands the “why” behind this goal
- And set strategic goals that align with achieving this level of CSR
Hopefully, this can help you explain to board members—both new and seasoned—why so much emphasis has recently been placed on CSR.
Read on to learn why Newcleus is Certified™ by Great Place to Work.