Altruism knows no season. It is not bound by the moods and whims of the influential, nor by the unpredictable tides of economic prosperity and hardship. It is, instead, an independent, guiding principle for acknowledging the symbiotic relationship that exists between company and community. And, in many ways, it is an ongoing opportunity to say thanks.
Corporate altruism, once a fond and distant notion, is today mightily on the rise. In 2008, an already-impressive 74% of U.S. companies reported participating in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives; just three years later, in 2011, that number had risen to an astonishing 83%. And so we must ask: why?
Yes, there are business reasons for doing so; companies are in business after all, right? But more often than not, CSR is embraced by companies both large and small because it reflects the values, goals and principles upon which the company, and its culture, are founded. This is increasingly born out by the number of workers who state that they value CSR higher than wages—the statistics are actually quite revealing:
The premium on CSR doesn’t end with employees, however. Consumers, too, place a high value on CSR when considering what companies they will and will not do business with. Two independent surveys conducted in 2013 provide some rather staggering perspective:
Conversely, those same surveys reveal that consumer trust of organizations is at a low, and continuing to spiral lower:
Clearly, on both the positive and negative sides of the equation, there are some very compelling reasons for businesses of all sizes and across all industries to engage in CSR—specifically, it influences consumer purchasing decisions; bolsters a company’s brand and reputation; helps attract and retain high-quality, like-minded employees; and, ultimately, it fosters a sense of trust and purpose between a company and the community in which it resides. So now that we’ve covered the Why, let’s briefly discuss the How.
Integrating CSR into your own organization
There are, obviously, a number of different ways and approaches to adopting CSR within your own business. The three points below, far from detailing the nuances and intricacies of such an undertaking, instead provide some general guidance and things to consider when implementing a CSR initiative.
First, develop a solid structure, strategy and process for implementing your CSR efforts. Often times this means standardizing or streamlining CSR processes so that efforts can be easily implemented by different business units. Additionally, you’ll need to identify CSR leaders within your organization to manage and promote initiatives.
As you move forward, raise awareness, provide details and communicate the importance of the cause within your business or organization. But that isn’t the end—you need to communicate progress and celebrate objectives or milestones reached on an ongoing basis.
Finally–and continuously—practice the CSR values that you preach. Make it easy for your employees and team leaders to get behind the initiative. Be bold and creative, and infuse your organization’s character into these actions. And most important, never lose sight of your key long-term CSR objectives.
Frontier Communications: practicing what we preach
Our own CSR initiatives can be summed up in a single phrase: “Use resources wisely.” To that end, we’ve implemented a number of company-wide programs oriented around the key objectives of conserving energy, reducing waste, and recycling—all with the specific goals of controlling costs, improving our financial performance, and ultimately leaving the planet in better shape for our children and all subsequent generations. For more information and details on our mission and values, visit: investor.frontier.com/missionValues.cfm.