Social Entrepreneurship

How to Implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in SMEs

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

More and more businesses are beginning to put into action CSR into their organizations. In order to achieve the full benefits, businesses should be aware of where they are and their ultimate destination. What are the most effective strategies for implementing CSR?

Each business has its own way of implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The style of implementation is determined by factors such as the business size, the sector in which it operates, the commitment of its leadership and its culture. Some businesses focus on one area such as literacy, while others seek to incorporate a CSR vision into various aspects of their business operation. Below are some important strategies small businesses can adopt when implementing CSR practices and policies.

Vision, mission and value statements

If CSR is to be considered a vital part of business decision making, it deserves a place in a business' core vision, mission and value documents. These statements not only state business goals and aspirations, but also give insight into culture, values and strategies for accomplishing its goals. If your business is to be considered socially responsible, your business' mission and vision should state that the business will uphold ethical business practices, and strive to create value for various stakeholders. Such stakeholders include customers, communities, employees, shareholders of the business and the natural environment.

Strategic planning

Small businesses are beginning to integrate CSR into their long-term goals and processes. In order to sustain growth opportunities, your business should prepare a CSR strategy, which will either be independent or incorporated in the general business strategy. The strategy should be closely related to the business' competencies and core business.

Communications, training and education

Small businesses are now realizing that employees can not be held responsible for their actions if they are not informed and equipped with tools to help them act accordingly. The importance of CSR should be publicized internally through training programs aimed at helping staff achieve responsible outcomes. Your business can take advantage of modern on-line resources to educate and train your suppliers and workforce.

Employee rewards and recognition

Most small businesses are aware that employees have a tendency to keep away from behavior that is punished and engage in behavior that is rewarded and recognized. As a business, your method of hiring, recruiting, compensating, promoting and publicly recognizing employees can be structured in a way which encourages CSR.

Environmental and social auditing

Small businesses are beginning to understand the importance of regularly assessing their environmental and social performance. This audit helps a business evaluate its progress towards meeting the expectations of customers, employees, business partners, investors, and other interested parties in CSR matters. Your business can make use of various tools available to assess its own performance and to compare it with the competition.

Use of influence

Ultimately, everyone benefits when as many businesses as possible honor the expectations and requirements of CSR. As a socially responsible entity, your business can play a significant role in affecting the conduct of others, from neighboring businesses to industry colleagues to business partners.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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