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How CSR can help improve your chances of growth

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CSR - or Corporate Social Responsibility, to give it its full name - can really help improve your chances of growth. But only if it's done right, explains Lee Petts of Preston-based consultancy Remsol. 

Businesses that do good also do well. That's not only our experience at Remsol, there are now dozens of studies from around the world that all confirm it. Doing good whilst you're doing business is essentially what CSR is all about. The trouble is, a lot of people in business hear CSR and immediately think it's just about giving money to charity or supporting local community groups - 'touchy-feely' stuff designed to make us look somehow virtuous.

But, actually, 'corporate philanthropy' is only part of the story, and it's not about looking virtuous it's about actually being virtuous! "So if it's not just about donating money to worthy causes, can you give me a real example of CSR that makes a difference?" I hear you ask.  

Absolutely! Better still, I'll even explain how it relates to business growth. CSR has lots of interesting facets to it, but the basic premise is that businesses don't exist in isolation, they exist in communities that they can impact (locally, nationally and even globally).

With that recognition comes the fact that businesses have responsibilities to their communities and to society as a whole. All of which distills down to this: CSR is about taking responsibility for the actions and omissions of our businesses and for behaving in accordance with societal norms. And it's about helping society to function and communities to flourish. Now you have a grounding in what CSR really is, let me give you a great example of it in practice:

Send your managers and supervisors on a stress management course. "What, that's CSR???" Yes, it is. Here's why and how it links to growth whilst delivering on the things I've listed out above: Firstly, it highlights that you recognise and are prepared to take responsibility for the fact that your managers and supervisors will occasionally face legitimate business pressures that they might struggle to deal with and that will cause them some degree of stress.

Secondly, it will help to reduce absenteeism in the workplace, because you'll have given your managers and supervisors the tools they need to identify and then manage workplace stress in themselves - and also in others. That translates directly to lower employment costs and frees-up senior management time to focus on running the business.

Thirdly, your managers and supervisors will feel valued and looked after, which they'll repay by being more productive. And, lastly, by equipping your managers and supervisors with the tools, strategies and coping mechanisms they need to beat workplace stress, fewer of them will end up seeking help from the NHS which will free up healthcare resources for better uses.

By behaving responsibly toward your managers and supervisors, you'll reduce your costs and boost productivity - both of which are critical to growth. And you'll be helping to make the healthcare resources society relies on go that bit further too. You win, your colleagues win, and society wins. That's CSR in action. You can get another 10 real examples of CSR here on our website.

 And the reason that doing good like this means you'll also do well, is because customers increasingly want to buy from companies with a strong track record of real CSR; people want to work for them; and investors want to put money into them.

What they're not interested in is ‘virtue signalling’ and ‘greenwashing’. Done right, CSR is a great way to stand out from your rivals and gain a competitive edge by making a difference as you make money. You should try it!

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