Over the last few years we have shaved, jumped, cycled, baked and run all in the name of great causes…….
….Corporate social responsibility (csr) might just be on its last legs
So over the last few weeks I’ve been on the receiving end of a real dose of humility from our staff. Like many companies, we have a corporate charity plan where we promote events for our selected causes – Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support – This plan sees us running quarterly events and raising some highly valued cash as well as giving us a fantastic bonding experience. Over the last few years we have shaved, jumped, cycled, baked and run all in the name of great causes but in every case the business has ultimately dictated the timing and general nature of the event.
Whilst all of this good stuff has been going on I’ve been vaguely aware that we also have an ‘unofficial community team’ made up of staff members who just do good things because they believe them to be the right thing to do. During September and October I decided I should do some digging and see what’s been going on… wow… did I get a lesson: Less meetings, less planning, less formal and MORE PASSION. These guys see a problem and just do something about it, regardless of the scale of the issue. Team of the month incentive prizes used to buy food for the local homeless. Actually they don’t just buy the food they also distribute it in their own time. Fast fund raise for hurricane victims. It became known that two of our team had relatives impacted by the recent storms in the Caribbean. Within minutes their colleagues had mobilised and raised an unreal amount of money which was sent to help out in the immediate aftermath. This cash won’t have been that far behind the on-scene first responders – how’s that for a lesson in red tape cutting and just getting on with things!
It’s not only about the money though. As recently as last week some of our guys were waiting in line for their food in a city centre restaurant when another customer began to choke. I’m told, depressingly, that most people’s first reaction was to reach for their phones and start filming!! Not, our guys, they instinctively got involved and administered a text book set of blows between the shoulder blades of the patient who, I’m told, can now count himself very lucky to be alive.
I could go on and on here; there are countless examples of amazing behaviour, as I’m sure there are in many other businesses, but the point is that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) might just be on its last legs. Much of it is boring, patronising and slow. Drop the ‘Corporate’ though and you have plain old ‘Social Responsibility’, surely this is a better thing? It’s from the heart, people led, instinctive and massively powerful. Furthermore it is, by definition, honest with no ulterior motives.
We now have a real challenge to get our heads around. Our business really has to and must be involved in supporting our immediate surroundings and the wider community, but perhaps we need to act as facilitator rather than dictator – if we can do this I suspect that way more good work will get done.
Chief Operating Officer
The Sigma Financial Group Ltd
Mob: 07850 336201