Do not underestimate the power of bolstering your business’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). When done right, with the proper intentions, and effective strategies, you can yield the following benefits:
- It helps improve your employees’ engagement. It makes them feel like they are working for something more than just profit like they are part of a bigger mission that helps make the world a better place.
- While CSR shouldn’t primarily be about the bottom line, it does help improve your company’s financials. Sustainable CSR initiatives have been proven to positively influence the bottom line of businesses.
- CSR supports communities that need the most help.
- It creates goodwill and excellent press for your brand.
These are just some advantages of strengthening your company’s CSR. While most businesses would focus on environmental initiatives, improving their labor policies, and charitable giving, why not focus your efforts on inclusion, diversity, and equity? Start with gender equity, and you would surely make your community a better place for women and the LGBTQIA+ community. If you want your corporate social responsibility (CSR) to shine a light on gender equality and equity, here are some pointers for how you can start.
Start with the right foundations
One of the best things you can do for your employees that are members of these communities and for your future recipients is to begin your journey with the proper foundations. This means arming yourself with the correct information and allowing yourself to learn and be educated. Fostering an inclusive and safe culture is a long-term process, not to mention a highly complex one, but it doesn’t mean you can’t begin your journey with a single step.
Start by hiring a gender and inclusion specialist—someone who has the degree and lived experience needed to perfectly encapsulate what gender equality and equity genuinely mean. This expert, or team of experts, can provide training to the members of your organizations. They can work hand-in-hand with your CSR team to ensure that every initiative effectively integrates mainstream vulnerable groups and thoughtful gender considerations.
This means helping you and your team ensure that all of your knowledge and activities are intersectional and work efficiently to center and include all types of communities in the margins.
Mind the economic gap
Speaking of intersectionality, you need to remember that gender inequality does not exist in a vacuum. More often than not, women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community that are struggling with discrimination and lack of access to resources are also one economic disadvantage. For this reason, one of the most straightforward ways you can champion equality and equity is by helping provide women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community access to the following:
- Good quality education through scholarships.
- Helping lift them out of their economic challenges, even if to provide temporary relief. You can help connect them with a collections lawyer to help them know all their options and manage what they can for now.
- Healthcare services, especially with doctors who will listen to them, especially since there is an epidemic of doctors not believing women, and especially people of color and those that are gender-diverse. If you must enlist the help of doctors, make sure to reach out to ones of the same background: female, gender-diverse, and people of color.
The above are just examples of how you can help provide some practical help to them. Ultimately, there will need to be some systemic changes to help ensure a more long-term and lasting change for them.
Begin with your organization
Before you can even begin to help those in your community, you need to start at home. This means helping ensure that your workplace culture is a safe and inclusive environment for people of all genders, races, ages, and faiths.
Consider forming a team of people whose mission is to ensure that your workplace is inclusive, in that everyone there, regardless of their background, can feel valued and heard. This must begin with your organization’s human resources (HR) team. After you have ensured that you have hired a diverse group of people from different ethnicities, ages, worldviews, and genders, you need to ensure that the organization is inclusive. Diversity and inclusion always go together, after all.
Centering communities on the margins is a highly complex process and one that requires your organization’s commitment, but the goals and objectives are well worth the effort. More importantly, the people are worth every resource available. Make this a company initiative and elevate your organization by existing not just to make a profit but also to lift people.