Mark Topley discusses what can be done to make the most of your charity and community work, in particular how it can build your team and your business

‘Doing your bit for charity’ has long been something many people take up as a part of running their business. National charity days and coffee mornings, donating a free whitening treatment to the school raffle or getting your team to dress up are regular features on practice social media feeds.

Although it can be frustrating as constant requests for help come through the door from a multitude of well-deserving charities, the general consensus is that ‘giving back’ is a good thing to do.

But dentistry is only now switching onto something larger businesses in other sectors have realised for some time. Doing good is good for business – if it is done well – and the evidence proves it.

According to www.conecomm.com, 88% of consumers expect businesses they buy from to create social and environmental benefit as an integral part of their business strategy. So, whether you are trying to attract and retain the high numbers of staff now looking for meaning and purpose in their work, or you are looking for customers who are increasingly savvy about organisations doing good – corporate social responsibility (CSR) is going to impact you.

Why CSR?

For companies who embrace a structured approach to their CSR:

93% of consumers will have a more positive image of that company

90% will be more loyal to them when prices increase

88% will trust them more.

You will get more from your team if you adopt a structured approach as well. Employees are typically 65% more engaged in socially responsible organisations – they weather more change, advocate for the organisation, and contribute more.

Gallup points out that an engaged employee generates an ROI of 120% of annual salary. A disengaged person just 80% and an actively disengaged person just 60%. Engaged employees make fewer mistakes and create fewer customer service issues because they care more about getting things right.

So, against a backdrop of increasing distrust and expectation of business in general, team members looking for than a pay cheque from work, and sustaining genuine team motivation becoming more elusive, CSR – and, in particular, engaging with charity and community causes – is proving an effective tool for businesses looking to succeed.

What should I be doing?

You may well have tried some things to care for charity and your community. For anyone wanting to develop their approach to this important topic, here are some pointers:

Fit – businesses that choose causes and community work that fits with their sector and make sense to their stakeholders, gain the most value from CSR

Commit – you need to commit wholeheartedly to CSR. It’s ‘go big or go home’

Manage – when it’s done well, CSR is like any other value creating asset in your business. As such, you need to manage it effectively

Connect – you must connect your team and your other stakeholders to what you’re trying to do

The ‘Goldilocks factor’ – although you must be fully committed to your CSR, the activity plan for what you choose to do needs to be ‘just right’. Too much and people will feel overwhelmed. Too little and you will lose momentum.

What happens?

My coaching practice helps businesses create and implement a structured approach to CSR so it answers all the major CSR ‘questions’, and engages your team and patients. Overwhelmingly, the biggest impact is on the team, as these quotes from clients show:

‘I see now how our work can have a very positive effect on the local community, and this can only help enhance our reputation in the long term. It’s important to me to also run a business that the staff like to be part of and enjoy their work. Staff morale/job satisfaction can help with retention, which in turn helps productivity and performance longer term.’ JW – principal.

‘As our charity committee has developed and fundraising activities have got underway, more and more of our colleagues have brought ideas to the table and want to get involved. Not only is it great that we fundraise and gain awareness to charitable causes, it also brings the team together and builds on our working relationships within the clinic. Overall, it’s had an amazing impact on the team.’ HF – practice manager.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big to make an impact: ‘It was so much of fun doing the bake sale. The entire team loved it and it is just amazing how everybody was so dedicated and supportive during the week. It was definitely a really good experience. The team can’t wait to do another event.’

Get started

Whether you consider yourself charitable or not, you can’t argue with the numbers. Taking some time to address your CSR plan will pay off in many ways, including the bottom line, as you attract patients, improve your reputation, and retain and engage your team.

A simple first step is to download ‘The 60-minute CSR plan’ for free, which you can access by visiting www.thecsrcoach.uk, where you can also schedule a complimentary call.

For more details, visit www.thecsrcoach.uk. Follow Mark on Twitter and Facebook for free articles and advice.
Toppernator  @Mark_Topley