Give back, or corporate social responsibility (SR), has been around for some time now. In fact, it’s safe to say SR programs have become table stakes and a normal part of doing business. The question is – are corporations doing enough? Or, in light of recent events whether that be climate change, current pandemic, war, social injustices – is it time for corporations to rethink how effective their SR programs really are and how important it is for them to take a leading role in enabling bold and powerful change?
Underlying these questions of effective corporate SR is the sense that we are awakening/reawakening our social activist selves.In other words, our intolerance of hatred, cruelty and injustice towards any living form is reaching a feverish pitch.
Although the younger generation does not carry the sole burden of change agency, I do believe this groundswell is largely being fueled by the incredible and unabashed social consciousness of younger generations (thank you to the environmental and social youth activists).
We Need to Do Better
Younger generations entering the workforce today expect and demand integrity from their employers – as they should. Companies need to be honest with themselves and do better if they wish to attract and keep top talent and make meaningful impact.
All companies, in my opinion, have an obligation to ensure that their products, services and operating model cause no harm to any living thing – people, animals or the environment. Not only that, but I believe all companies need to rethink how their social responsibility programs are contributing to help solve some of our most urgent social problems.
We’re running out of time and our governments are simply incapable of implementing the policies and changes we need in the time we need them to take effect. I am not an alarmist. I am a realist. It is no longer acceptable for consumers and companies to ignore such pressing issues.
Redefining Our Responsibility
A book recently came out called Change for Good: An Action-Orientated Approach for Businesses to Benefit from Solving the World’s Most Urgent Social Programs written by Paul Klein. Klein argues that with more than a year into a global pandemic, profit and shareholder value are no longer the primary metric of business success.
Customers, shareholders, and communities are demanding that companies do good, do more and do better. His book helps companies move beyond what he calls “social corporate responsibility light” and demonstrate how they can help solve social programs that have been defined as UN Sustainable Development Goals.
I agree with Klein’s pressing message. Dramatic and bold change falls on the responsibility of all companies, not just our governments. We need to all rise to the challenge to make bold social change a critical part of our company’s purpose. And, when you have that clear purpose, what an incredible way to attract and keep impassioned and talented staff.
Like people, companies attract employees that believe in their purpose. Not to mention, purpose-driven folks who are motivated by doing meaningful work are some of the hardest working and most satisfied employees delivering remarkable results.
The Power of Press Start
nowly has just recently launched a bold new social give back program called Press Start to support social-preneurs in the acceleration of their businesses. The platform’s “Hub” offers a curated list of tools and resources along with an upcoming Co-Lab Event, set to take place around early June. The event will bring together youth activists with industry thought leaders and academics to radically solve a pressing social challenge.
What’s especially unique about Press Start is our aim to challenge the existing models of solutioning by leveraging a human centered design and collaboration framework. We’ll bring together all voices, across diverse age cohorts, regionalities, and disciplines to build upon solution sets in an iterative and evolving process. In the spirit of collaboration, we’ll also involve all staff to participate in any way they feel comfortable.
Each year, we will aim to focus on a new social challenge under the overarching thematic of empowering youth activists. Our aspiration is to arrive at a co-created, collaborative solution with empowered youth activists to help make this world a better place, one pressing social challenge at a time.
We Can’t Wait to Press Start
Cultivating a give back culture starts by doing in bold new ways. In my opinion, that starts by challenging the meaning of corporate social responsibility and challenging ourselves to step up, do more and do better. We can’t wait to share the details of what we are up to with our Press Start Co-Lab event.
Having led and been involved in some amazing bold social good programs for other corporations in previous lives, what I can say with confidence, is the impact on a company’s culture, the staff and leadership is not only incredible but undeniable. Let’s all Press Start to this new way of doing the right thing. Learn more about Press Start.