“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The best is yet to come.”——Zig Ziglar
Business turns a social problem into economic opportunity and economic benefit into productive capacity, human competence, well-paid jobs, and wealth (Peter. Drucker,1984). More than ever, companies on the African continent need to focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). If companies need some convincing to adopt the CSR model, now is the time. Companies of the future who want to stay on the market and compete with the rest of the world need to focus on CSR as a business case rather than just having a ‘goodwill’ department.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Non-governmental (NGOs), and Multinational companies should be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that CSR is not just for a selected few but for all. Moreover, CSR is not new; it has been here for a long time, and it’s gaining more attention than ever before fast with the changing business dynamics.
No matter what your work, the concept of business efficiency. Business efficiency is widely recognized as something worth achieving, and most of today’s organizations have set efficiency as their principal goal. Even outside of business, our society is obsessed with efficiency. Young & Tilley (2006) discussed six criteria for corporate sustainability that contribute to social responsibility and improve business efficiency. These include:
- Ecological equity
These six benchmarks form an amalgamated model that corporations can follow for sustainable business practices, reap profits, and be conscious of their business practices. The point here is that CSR’s motto pays in real economic terms and must be broadcasted far and wide, and only when corporations realize the economic benefits of conscious capitalism would they embrace the paradigm of CSR wholeheartedly.
To build and sustain brands people love and trust, one must focus not only on today but also on tomorrow. It’s not easy…but balancing the short and long term is key to delivering sustainable, profitable growth-growth that is good for our shareholders but also good for our consumers, our employees, our business partners, the communities where we live and work, and the planet we inhabit.
Reasons why CSR is an investment and never a Cost
The biggest difference between cost and investment is the benefit brought to the business, which helps the business continue to grow. The underlisted can be well considered and anlaysed:
The Image: A coherent action in CSR, well executed and well communicated, directly affects the image of the company, represents the position of a valuable company, consistent and responsible, and creating a lasting perception for audience.
Talent: It is true that companies committed to society and the environment can attract more talent and remain talented in teams for longer. Relying on a more ambitious and talented team is a fundamental condition for the growth of any business.
Efficiency: Many environmental protection-related CSR actions (recycling, energy savings, etc.) mean corporate savings that can not only increase costs, but even reduce them.
Loyalty: Customers appreciate responsible business behaviour and thank them for their loyalty to the brand. Carrying out activities related to specific values and adhering to these CSR values ensures a more effective long-term relationship between the company and the public, a relationship that underlies the development of the company.
Risk reduction: Socially responsible activities within a company reduce the risks it may face and give it more control, which costs the company and impacts its growth, something which reduces the possibility that said risks become a cost for the business, affecting its growth.
Corporate Social Responsibility or Profit.
In recent years Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a catchphrase amongst many companies. It primarily referred to the practice of giving back to communities in programs, outreach to build schools, and more. However, the idea that the company´s money should be dedicated just to some cause rather than profit does not sit well for many.
More people will debate whether a firm should exist solely to profit or pay heed to the social-environmental concerns that accompany its practices? The proponents of the view that a firm exists exclusively for making a profit argue that the market is the final arbiter of allocating resources and points to the market as to where incentives for giving resources for social and environmental causes are found. The opponents of this view take the stand that everything cannot be left to the market, and there needs to be a mechanism in place whereby the environmental and social causes need to be taken care of (MSG, 2020).
When you take off the many hats you carry and have a look with a clear mind on both sides of the debate, what comes to mind first is companies whose business affects the environment. Therefore, the need for them to invest in CSR seems more pressing compared to their counterparts. This is true, but “If this world is to be a decent world in the future, “we must acknowledge right now that we are citizens of one interdependent world, held together by mutual fellowship as well as the pursuit of mutual advantage, by compassion as well as self-interest, by a love of human dignity in all people, even when there is nothing, we have to gain from cooperating with them.” Therefore, the time is now, and we are leaving no one behind when it comes to integrating CSR practices within the internal process and policies. CSR is not just giving back to a community; it’s about your brand, your employees, your customers, your stakeholder, shareholders, and most importantly, the potential investor.
To build a business case around internal processes, CSR and employee engagement should thoroughly be discussed. Employee engagement and motivation are factors companies are constantly trying to improve. However, they often overlook the best ways of doing this. Employee engagement is fundamentally a two-way street. It is a mutual commitment between the organization and its employees, a mutual sharing of information and interaction. It means that employees read company and industry news, share it, and respond to it. It means that they are aware of what’s happening at their company and within their sector and that their company, in turn, listens to their thoughts and addresses their concerns. Think of it as an ongoing conversation between employer and employee. Employee engagement and motivation levels are important indicators of a company’s effectiveness. Companies with workers who are engaged with company and industry news, who are motivated to do their job well and contribute toward the company’s positive trajectory, tend to be those that perform well in the competitive landscape.
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy
People want to work for a company that makes the world a better place. There are many ways to improve engagement which leads to productivity and profits. Gamification and reward engagement frameworks that work for all company sizes and budgets are recommended.
CSR and Business efficiency can help move us away from hazards we currently face and towards a bright, optimistic, and efficient future. However, the fruits of business efficiency must be reaped by employees and society and not just by a few individuals. The triumph of business efficiency is the ability to place CSR at the forefront. Business efficiency is driven by constant involvement and improvement and self-disciplined employees.
David Crowther et Güler Aras. 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility. P 11.
Peter F. Drucker, “The New Meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility.” California Management Review, 1984, 26: 53-63
McChrystal, Stanley; Collins, Tantum; Silverman, David; and Fussel, Chris (2015), Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. Portfolio/Penguin, New York