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How Employees Push Companies to be More Socially Responsible

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Even large corporations can be moved to be more socially responsible if their employees push them to be. This lesson discusses how employees can have this influence.

What is Social Responsibility?

Do you work for a large company? Ever wonder how you might get them to incorporate some changes that would benefit society or the environment? If you start to work slowly and methodically from inside the company, you might be able to start changing the traits of your company.

Social responsibility is the idea that people and organizations should act in a way that is ethical and respectful to all aspects of society. This includes the environment, people, cultures, and classes.

As an individual it is easier to take on this responsibility because you are the only one in control of your actions; however, how does one convince, say, a large oil corporation to think about environmental sustainability? Changes can start with the employees.

Taking Little Steps

There are people today that are passionate about the environment and people, so they choose to be ''change agents''. These agents start working for companies that are not known for their environmental policies or respectful surroundings, and start the long term goal of changing the company from the inside out.

However, this cannot be done overnight, being too militant about policies that have been in place for years is likely just going to ruffle feathers and maybe even get you fired. So instead, focus on the little things.

Start with encouraging others to reduce energy use by emphasizing how much the company will save on utilities. Just being a good example also helps, because others who are like-minded will model that behavior, or come and ask questions about ways to help the environment.

However, while you are trying to be environmentally aware, make sure to make friends and impress management with your skills. Showing talent in the position gains respect, which is key in having influence in making larger changes later.

Becoming Integral to the Business

Learn the company, the position, and find out how social responsibility could also save the company money is key. Trying to get into fields where change is easier can also help the process. Areas like:

  • Marketing/Advertising - Each of these roles can have different influences. Marketing and advertising can come up with new slogans and ideas to market the company in a better and cleaner light. This can force a company's hand to make changes if they agree to the new campaign.
  • Energy - Many companies have a facilities or energy department. Working here can add the influence in the area of saving energy, or using different energy altogether.
  • Human Resources - A company can focus on being more socially responsible in who they hire. Making sure respectful rules have been created for employees interactions and open door policies.
  • Training - Some training groups have the power to create new innovative trainings, which means you can affect change in many aspects. Whether it is working with different cultures, energy saving, or respect and empathy for employees and customers, there are a variety of ways to start change here.
  • Management - Management of course is a key position to start changing a company from the inside out. However, it is still important to know your limits. Work on small steps that can lead to larger changes down the road. Remember to always keep the company in mind - you are trying to help the company succeed, just in an out-of-the-box way.

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