As a business owner, it can be easy to throw on the blinders and focus exclusively on profitability. But what if becoming permanently profitable and supporting the causes closest to your heart could come hand in hand? Social entrepreneurship can actually boost your employee retention rate and their productivity.
Nowadays, people, especially millennials, want to do meaningful work. Something that translates into more than just a 9-to-5 job. By blending your company’s for-profit goals with larger societal goals, your employees will feel more accomplished and satisfied with how they’re using their time.
Start by sitting down with your team and figuring out what causes are important to them. It could be homelessness, cancer research, environmental issues, anything! Then, every quarter, collectively choose one to design a project around.
Your mission doesn’t have to be about donating money. Here are some creative ways for you and your team to incorporate humanitarianism into your day-to-day work life.
1. Teach classes at your community center. You have specific skills related to your industry. Whether it be personal finance, graphic design, or coding, you and your team can run a workshop at your local community center. This is especially impactful for individuals who need retraining and can’t afford to attend a college or university.
2. Switch from paper to digital. How many of your documents are being printed in hard-copy? If it’s a lot, consider switching entirely to digital. Not only will this minimize your environmental impact, but you’ll also save money on printing. This extra change could be donated to charities that combat the effects of deforestation, such as the Jane Goodall Institute or Plant a Billion.
3. Buy locally. If you want to support your fellow local businesses, take part in Small Business Saturday. As a team, you can make a list of the businesses you want to patronize and take turns leaving them reviews. This also encourages cross-promotion between your company and other local businesses.
4. Hotel bottles. This method is especially convenient for those who travel a lot. One way to support local homeless shelters is to encourage employees to collect the mini shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles in their hotel rooms. Instead of using them, bring them back to headquarters where you can stock up and then deliver the goods to a shelter. This is an easy way to support your community with no added costs.
5. Referral program. This strategy is really a win-win. If you want to boost your number of customer referrals, advertise a deal in which your company donates $30 to a charity of your choice for every referral. This will quickly build your reputation, not only for a quality service or product, but for your socially conscious practices.
6. Offer your services. Finally, you can always go with classic pro bono work. Offer your services to one or two potential clients that are lower income or otherwise disadvantaged, whether it be designing a new logo or organizing their financial records. Create teams to tackle these cases each quarter, on the clock. Although you’ll lose a bit of money to opportunity cost, the inspiration and enhanced productivity your employees will amass will make up for it.
Don’t underestimate the immense impact social entrepreneurship can have on your office culture and employees. It can be the extra motivation they need to tap into their passion and drive. Denise Blasevick saw these results in her own company and we’ve see them at Profit First Professionals in our mission to “eradicate entrepreneurial poverty.” It could also be the solution for you.