Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not a phrase that I like. In fact I would like to take the ‘Corporate’ out of Corporate Social Responsibility altogether.
However in the absence of any other meaningful phrase I refer to CSR, by which I mean responsible business practices for any company, large or small.
Are SME’s Missing Out?
Traditionally it has only been the large ‘corporate’ companies that have a structured approach to CSR working with organisations such as Business in the Community. Their list of the top performing companies includes the likes of Dairy Crest, Carillon and M&S.
Yet I believe many Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SME’s) could be missing out on an opportunity. Not because they are not operating as a responsible business but because they don’t think about it holistically or shout about it.
Companies that go the extra mile to think about their employees, the environment, their community and supply chain activities are well placed to differentiate their business and improve their profile and reputation.
TTC Group Leads by Example
The TTC Group is a perfect model of a company that has put CSR high on its agenda from the outset. It forms one of the company’s five key values.
Telford based TTC Group is known for delivering Police referred training courses including speed awareness and drink drive rehabilitation to individuals. Established in 2000, the company has grown and now offers many other managed and training services. Today TTC is recognised as one of the UK’s leading learning and development companies.
When it comes to CSR, Jenny Wynn, the Group Managing Director, says it’s about “doing your bit for the community and encouraging your staff to do the same”.
But it’s much more than that in the TTC Group. It becomes second nature because CSR is the ethos running throughout the whole organisation.
From supporting individuals and teams to raise funds to giving up time to sit on committees, from making buildings energy efficient and having green travel policies to ensuring suppliers operate sustainable policies, everyone within TTC gets involved.
Jenny’s Top Tips
It’s actually not that difficult to integrate responsible business practices into your company, here’s how the TTC Group does it.
1. Make it fun – if you want a company to sponsor an event or activity make it a memorable and enjoyable experience or have a prize for the team that generates the least waste each month.
2. Make it simple – dress down days, fancy dress events, baking cakes all make it easy for staff who don’t want to jump out of planes or run a marathon.
3. Make it second nature – introduce ‘Pennies from Pay’, maybe make it compulsory. This scheme rounds down monthly salaries turning unmissed pennies into a sizeable annual charity contribution.
4. Look beyond the obvious – it can be very rewarding to seek out local groups and activities which are in jeopardy through lack of funds. You can literally become their lifeline.
5. Make it bottom up – encourage staff to come up with ideas and let them run their own fund raising campaigns for the causes which interest them.
6. Lead by example – as a business owner support local businesses or national causes through taking an active part on boards and committees. This creates new partnerships and opportunities you just don’t get sitting behind a desk.
7. Find that passion – seek out worthy causes that fit with your objectives or interests or the community where you live or work. Passionate people get more people involved and raise more money.
8. Build it in – if you get the chance think about building in energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction.
9. Reward and invest in staff – match fundraising by staff to double the impact, subsidise staff social events to ensure staff feel valued and provide ongoing training and development for all levels of staff. This keeps people motivated and results in a much lower staff turnover, which in itself saves resources.
10. Raise awareness – ensure your staff are aware of your mission and values – from induction and regular communication to putting a copy on the back of your loo doors!
Each year, TTC staff give up time to volunteer to handle callers with donations for the Sport Relief TV extravaganza which raises cash to for vulnerable and disadvantaged people. On the night, to show their support, staff will be entertained, fed and well looked after during breaks by the Directors.
Making a Difference
This is just one of many examples of how TTC has made a difference to their staff, the environment, the local community and charities. To find out more about the TTC Group see the CSR section of their About Us page.
Company chairman Graham Wynn and Group MD Jenny Wynn definitely set the bar pretty high but everyone can “do their bit”, no matter how small by setting a good example and encouraging staff.
Developing good CSR policies could, and should, become an important part of your business. This helps with everything from improving your profile to winning contracts or even recruiting and retaining staff. Providing of course you tell the world about it through news releases, newsletters, blogs and social media!
If you want help with making the most of your CSR policies please contact me.