Posted by: hepowers | September 25, 2009

Giving & Receiving Benefits

Similar to volunteering, social responsibility can create direct benefits to both the giver and receiver.  Aside from improving a company’s reputation, their social initiatives create other benefits within their own walls.  A recent article in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper illustrates this very well.

Jay Robb is a regular writer for the Spectator on business and employment issues.  He recently reviewed a new book by Rosabeth Moss Kanter who is Chair of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.  “Super Corp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good” is apparently a very good read.

Essentially, corporations who take social responsibility seriously, reap the benefit of enthusiastic employees who want to do more than make a living.  As Robb states, ‘Embedding social purpose in your mission, vision and values and then walking the talk gets you engaged employees, a hotbed of innovation and exceptional customer service.’  Sounds worthwhile all round.

By extending a helping hand outside the business, employers could improve both their external and internal communities.  Recognizing that financial viability is paramount, wouldn’t it be great to add community viability as another business success indicator?

Research by Kanter analyzed the relationship between a company’s high performance and being ‘a good corporate citizen.’  The results showed, ‘…that the two issues, business performance and societal contributions, are, in fact, intimately connected.’  Hopefully this is incentive for companies everywhere.

In my public relations courses, I have learned the need to monitor issues and crises in related industries to identify potential implications to your own business.  Being proactive and prepared for upcoming issues is a large part of the public relations role.

Robb’s article includes a paragraph with a similar outlook where he states, ‘A social purpose also reminds us to quit navel-gazing and keep looking outside our organization for problems to solve and needs to be met.  You won’t find any inspiration for innovation in a meeting room or in a 50-slide PowerPoint.’

The basis of my blog is to explore the impacts of social responsibility on different types of communities and Robb’s final paragraph beautifully echoes my own belief:  ‘So dig up – and dust off – your organization’s mission, vision and values.  If there’s no mention of social purpose, start a conversation and keep talking.  You’ll make your organization better and you’ll make our community stronger.’

Eureka!  To see Robb’s full article, visit his blog at


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