As a B Corporation, my company is focused on doing well by doing good -- it's part of our company DNA and is how we do business each and every day. While our mission to create cleaner and healthier environments for our employees and clients is deeply embedded in our company culture, we are always looking for new ways to help solve social challenges while continuing to move forward with our business strategies.
You don't have to be a nonprofit in order to make a positive impact on the world. In fact, I strongly believe that a company structured to make a profit while also providing social benefits is exactly what the world needs more of at this time.
As Alan Murray wrote in the introduction to Fortune's Change the World List, "Companies that are making genuine efforts to change the world for the better should be encouraged."
If changing the world for the better is part of your company's 2016 goals, here are 3 ways you can ensure that will happen:
The first thing you need to do is re-ignite your passion for what drives you and the mission of your company. By shifting our thinking from how to be in business to why we are in business, we are in fact creating a gigantic shift in priorities -- not only for ourselves, but our companies. One of the best ways to do this is to connect yourself with the social cause you feel most passionate about; chances are it is part of why you created your company's mission. "Cause is so much more powerful than mission," writes Mohan Nair in a piece for Seattle Business. "Causes are realized while missions are given. Causes transform while missions inform. Causes start with an individual." Get involved with a local nonprofit, attend an organization's event or workshop, find a mentor who will support and guide your efforts. Nurturing your social side provides new energy and clarity -- moving you and your business to the next level of creating good.
Create an Employee Volunteer Program
It is important for me that my employees not only become a part of the company's internal mission, but I want their enthusiasm for doing good to carry out into our communities. Creating an employee volunteer program helps align your company's overall mission and values with the interests of your employees and the needs of your community. While there are various ways you can structure such a program, the most effective programs offer different levels of involvement. For example, give employees the day off to volunteer as part of a community-wide day of service, organize volunteer efforts via your internal teams allowing them to volunteer time that is in line with their skills (i.e. your accounting team could provide a day of bookkeeping services for a nonprofit) or allow employees to participate in individual volunteer programs during work hours (i.e. attend a nonprofit board meeting). Knowing that your employees lead very busy lives outside of your company, you want to make sure you have ways for them to participate even if they are time-crunched.
There are a lot of things to consider when building your team, but to increase your social good in the New Year, you need to find people with the ideal balance of social passion and business experience. How? Clearly communicate your company's core values during the interviewing process and be able to translate those values into behaviors. As the CEO of an eco-friendly cleaning company, I screen dozens of experienced cleaners, but I only hire those whose personal values align with our standards and mission. I am looking for what some call "below the surface competencies", those attributes that go deeper than traditional business acumen and skill-sets -- after all, it's easier to train someone how to do a task than it is to train them to have the same values as your company. A team built on a foundation of shared values will inherently want to work hard towards your company goals.
Every business -- no matter how big or how small -- can create a positive impact while maintaining a healthy bottom line. I have found that once you center your efforts on "doing good" you are rewarded with both personal and professional success.