Giving Compass' Take:
- Here are seven ways social impact missions can improve if organizations take meaningful action and change organizational structure and values.
- How can social impact missions make a difference?
- Read more about building a social impact business.
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There was a time when profit-driven businesses could give little thought to their impact on the world around them. Most stakeholders and employees were focused on the business’s success, not its impact. Today, that could not be further from the truth.
Social and environmental issues are everyone’s responsibility. And organizations that fail to recognize their role in shaping the world around them will find that their reputation and ability to recruit talent suffer. Organizations now understand they cannot sit idle, but taking an idea to meaningful action and change is a big challenge.
Through my time in social impact, I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people. One of those people is Jenn Longnion, who has spent over 25 years working as an Organization Development Leader for a range of organizations. Based on my discussions with her and our work in the space, this is how we think corporate and cause partnerships can start—and thrive.
Companies have demonstrated that when they take the lead, social agendas can change at a faster pace and receive more resources than when we wait for public policy and practice to change. It’s got to start with corporate learning and integrating social impact and environmental and social issue education into existing training and development programs.
• The education and training must be bespoke. Organizations must have bespoke training with a corporate learning agenda that incorporates the specific areas of society the company wants to influence.
• It should reflect the competitive advantage of the business and brand. Similarly, if the company believes its social and environmental impact is critical to its brand, it must be included in the learning agenda.
• It starts with the leaders. The integration must start at the highest levels, with the company leaders, and then be integrated into learning at all levels.
• There must be clear expectations for employees. Gallup has confirmed that the key to engaging employees is to set clear expectations. If the leaders outline what everyone is expected to do, there’s no doubt.
• Invite individuals to have a 'why.' Every organization has a big “why” behind what it does and its social impact missions, but employees must also be invited to find their own reason for working for (or against) an issue.
• Ask people to define the solution as well as the problem. When people are involved in something, they take ownership of it. We've seen this to be true, even when someone has a contrary point of view.
• Take a wide view. Organizations cannot look at an issue through the lens of one place, be it a state or country.
Read the full article about social impact missions by Nick Lynch at Forbes.