by Anne Rackow
“Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Changing the world for the better can happen anywhere - even the workplace. In fact, if you own or manage a company, it’s the perfect place to start: incorporating social responsibility at work can help attract top talent and improve employee satisfaction.
This is especially true when hiring Millennials. According to a study by Deloitte, a sense of purpose was a major factor in workplace choice for 6 in 10 Millennials. This statistic increases to approximately 8 in 10 for Millennials who are relatively high users of social networking tools.
While non-profits and social enterprises may appear to have a leg up in this department, traditional businesses and corporations are actually joining the movement at an increased rate as well. We recently talked about a few of these “unusual suspects” that are incorporating impact into their existing business models.
Even companies with socially conscious missions can do things on this list to take it a step further. Here are a few suggestions for how you can create an environment that supports social justice in your day-to-day operations:
Develop Inclusive & Equal Workplace Policies
- Implement a flexible leave policy that is supportive of major holidays for all religions.
- Ensure that the company leadership is diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
- Offer generous family leave for both males and females after the birth or adoption of a new child, and make sure that your policy allows you to be flexible with working parents.
- If you contract with staffing agencies, make sure that their workers are getting a fair wage and safe working conditions.
- Similarly, use ethical supply chains that do not use slave labor or sweatshops in the creation of the materials and products used or sold by your company. If you’re unsure where to find these kinds of products, Made in a Free World can help!
- If you have separate restrooms for men and women, install changing tables in both. Also, consider gender neutral restrooms.
Support Your Local Economy
- Decorate with art from local artists in your community.
- Host regular companywide days of volunteering or offer a match plan for donations.
- Cater events with and host company gatherings at local mom and pop restaurants
Get Sustainable in the Office
- Stock your printers with recycled paper and print on both sides, when possible.
- When you get new electronics, recycle the old ones.
- In the restroom, use paper towels made from recycled paper, air hand dryers, and low flow toilets.
- Close the blinds on large windows on nights and weekends, and use a timer to regulate heat and AC.
- If you provide coffee in the break room, buy coffee that is fair trade and locally roasted.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making the world a better place or increasing employee satisfaction; but if it is possible to do both at the same time, it sounds like a win to us! While it may not be realistic to try implementing every suggestion on this list right away, there is at least one thing on this list that your business or organization can implement relatively easily.
What are some small changes that you’ve made in the workplace that have had a positive social impact? Share with us! Here’s how…