lights connecting city buildings; we rely on community during tough times

The importance of community during tough times

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When times get tough, we often rely on our communities to help us prevail.

Our communities are composed of everyone around us — neighbors, friends, those who work at the grocery store, the people who run the local brewery. 2020 has been a hard year. When people are suffering, the community suffers.

There are things business leaders can do to support the community.

In the research literature we study something called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — this is when companies do good for society, and this goes above and beyond what is required by the law or regulations. This might be directed towards environmental efforts or the public. 

CEOs and leaders have a great deal of power when it comes to supporting the community and their employees living in it. Examples of CSR initiatives might include: 

  • Donate overproduction of food and goods to food banks or local charities 
  • Raise funds for hunger relief 
  • Engage employees in a river clean-up event 
  • Sponsor employees who volunteer
  • Stock the local food pantry 
  • Pay all workers a living wage 
  • Be more progressive on climate change initiatives 
  • Think about all workers in your supply chain (e.g., farmers) and find ways to support them (e.g., fair trade, humane working conditions) 
  • Employ individuals with disabilities 
  • Give to charity 

When companies help the community, it helps them, too.

Although the greatest reward for supporting the community will be the great feeling you get when helping others, but there are some other business-related benefits that are pretty great:

  • People enjoy working for companies that exercise social responsibility. Employers with better reputations and more CSR attract better candidates, which leads to more engaged employees.  
  • When you have employees that love working for your company, this strengthens the reputation and brand.
  • People are less likely to leave their jobs when they perceive there to be strong corporate social responsibility.
  • It is a differentiation strategy.
  • It is positively linked to customer patronage.
  • It enhances relationships with and perceptions from the community.

With this being said, when you do good for society, make it known! Community members, customers, and stakeholders would all like to know about the things you are doing to support the greater good.



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