Scattered through the text of this book are references to a ‘socially responsible business’, so here’s a section dedicated to the term.
It also arises from doing a projected entrepreneurship curriculum for my college, Antioch, which emphasizes doing things in a socially responsible manner.
In my experience, most business owners start businesses for socially responsible reasons, such as providing gainful employment to themselves, and others, but they don’t think of themselves as socially responsible.
I did a survey of my approximately 20 Solutions Forum and Profit Growth Acceleration clients and they didn’t think of themselves as socially responsible, but they do operate in a socially responsible manner. (Otherwise they might not be clients)
Being socially responsible means openess in how you operate your business, and running it in a manner that benefits society. Benefitting society means making positive changes that benefit society while benefitting stakeholders and making a profit.
Being socially responsible is characterized as being open about all facets of running your business. Some examples of business practices that are considered socially responsible are:
- Opening your financial statements to your employees (you might wish to have them sign a non disclosure when you do, to prevent financial data being disclosed to competitors and the government without your permission).
- Being open and honest in hiring your employees.
- Being open an honest in your employment practices, usually through an employment manual, to which employees can contribute.
- Honest and forthright employee evaluations at reasonable intervals, such as quarterly, and allowing employees to make a commentary on the evaluation, and have them sign the evaluation.
- Allowing your employees to contribute suggestions on how the company is run, its leadership, and any other topic they wish. Such suggestions should be acknowleged, and a course of action designed to either implement or ignore the suggestion. If the suggestion is going to be ignored, management should say why.
- Regular feedback and interchanges with employees, such as on Friday afternoons. As a company grows, this feedback process might have to go through departments, and might have to be staggered so that customers are taken care of.
The qualification and quantification of being socially responsible is a relatively new phenomenom, and one that arouses a great deal of comment, so we expect our fair share of readers will let us know what they think of the practice and how their business practices being socially responsible.