Pay it Forward: Social Responsibility in Business

To pay it forward is to respond to one individual’s random act of kindness by being kind to someone else.

Taking action can be as simple as paying for the next person in line at the drive thru, donating blood, holding the door open, or sharing your umbrella with a complete stranger next time water begins to pour out of the sky.

Studies show that such random acts of kindness have positive benefits on both the receiving and the giving end. Among many of these benefits include reduced stress and feelings of isolation, increased self confidence and happiness, and a greater sense of belonging.

Therefore, if such random acts of kindness can have a profound impact on one individual, how about a business comprised of many individuals?

Known as Corporate Social Responsibility, in the past many saw a business’s random act of kindness as a way to minimize bad publicity following a scandal.

However, as consumers’ tastes and expectations changed over the years—not to mention social media’s ability to spread publicity like wildfire—companies are now expected to be more socially and environmentally responsible than ever before. Through aligned efforts with company core values, businesses have become more transparent via sustainability reports, and have integrated corporate social responsibility into their day-to-day activities.

For businesses, these random acts of kindness can come in the form of helping employees achieve their personal and professional development goals, donating a percentage of profits to charity, hosting community cleanups and free events, contributing to the local business community, and encouraging employees to run marathons for charity.

For employees, these community initiatives not only have physical and mental health benefits, but have been shown to boost morale, commitment, and communication among team members.

For the business itself, the benefits are twofold: Not only will you have more satisfied employees, but you will generate good publicity for your business—key if you want to attract good business—and with social responsibility shown to be the second most important deciding factor for a potential employee—expect to attract the right kind of talent too.

Beyond being a company that employs happy employees and gives back to the community however, the biggest benefit is the fact that you’re a business that lives by example.

You’re living the core values and mission that laid the foundation for your business, and encouraging others to do the same. Every community initiative, every random act of kindness, makes the world a better place.

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