Business commitment is one of the most interesting topics of recent decades. Companies have adopted a new role that, in our opinion, is positive and productive at different levels.
The company is no longer an entity with an exclusive mission (to earn money) but rather a force for social progress and an actor in the well-being of employees and customers. The thousands of corporate social responsibility programs we see today are proof of this.
Society in general now expects companies, either through laws or by social norm, to meet certain standards of responsibility. Some companies do it because of these demands while others act naturally. This small distinction makes a huge difference.
Corporate commitment is that concept that dictates the efforts behind many CSR projects but also influences the relationship that companies have with their own employees.
Due to the influence that business engagement has on the long-term performance of organizations, it is a good idea to understand how to manage it.
Types of business commitment
We can say that there is a business commitment that the organization has with society (and more immediately, with the community in which it lives), with its clients and with its own workforce.
The business commitment to society is clearly reflected in the initiatives that promote sustainability, clean energy, local production, among other priorities in modern life. Each company, regardless of its sector, can collaborate positively in these areas.
While in some countries this kind of corporate engagement with society is desirable, in others it is required. Whatever the case, this relationship between business and society, described in detail through the business commitment, is very important for all parties and benefits the situation of the organization.
When the business commitment is with the employees, the relationship is different. The commitment with the workers has a bi-directional nature, since the workers normally tend to act in coherence with the business commitment.
Examples? Consider an organization whose corporate commitment is to positively influence efforts to combat climate change. The company can propose investment in collective means of transport (buses) so that employees avoid traveling to the company in their individual vehicles and polluting more. In this scenario, employees have to agree to the sustainability project for it to work.
Another scenario is to organize volunteer days to collect food, with the aim of helping low-income people who are experiencing vulnerable situations. While many companies are involved in social initiatives of this type, it is a fundamental condition that the team is involved in said mission so that they participate productively and the initiation is enhanced.
Business commitment and trust
The scenarios described above present a question for any entrepreneur who wants to move forward with their socially conscious initiatives. The question is, how do I get others to agree to and collaborate with my business commitment?
To answer this question, one dimension of what business engagement really means must be examined.
Business commitment is a concept that only makes sense if it is based on trust. Employees, customers and society in general must trust the company and its business commitment. The parties involved must have a minimum of trust in people and organizations.
For any company, the priority is to build trust. If your employees don’t trust your company, they won’t do a good job. If your customers don’t trust your company, they will leave. If society doesn’t trust your company, simply no one will choose you for the products and services you offer and you will eventually pay top dollar.
Trust is the main component in the conversation about business engagement.
Corporate commitment and promises
Speaking of trust, it is important to mention how companies manage promises. If we study the available literature and opinion pieces on business engagement, the idea of promises often comes up.
Almost every company we know has made and will continue to make promises: promises to their employees, promises to their customers, promises to the community and society in general.
Think of all the promises high-profile companies make about positive action on sustainability and climate change. Let’s also think when organizations promise things to their employees, such as improvements in conditions at any given time or positive changes in the work environment.
Then let’s remember what happens when many of these promises are not kept, when entrepreneurs, whatever their reasons, fail on their own words. Trust is broken: the employee becomes demoralized, the customer leaves, and society in general looks elsewhere.
Corporate commitment is much more than a simple promise: it is part of the social identity of the organization. Business commitment reflects the sense of responsibility that the organization has.
Therefore, entrepreneurs must carefully evaluate what kind of promises they make through their projects. Assessing well the implications of each promise is essential in this exercise.
Communication plays a fundamental role. Communicating clearly with the parties involved prevents rumors and people from jumping to conclusions and negative judgments about the management of your project. Rumors can lead parties to believe that your organization is reneging on its promises, when in fact you are making every effort to fulfill the business commitment in question.
Business commitment and company values
While many modern organizations are advertising their business commitments in the form of major initiatives such as sustainability, clean energy, civil rights, and the development of sharing economies, sometimes the original element of the commitment is not communicated.
Companies that successfully meet their business commitments have their values defined.
Corporate values are the intrinsic principles that guide the actions of a company.That is, they are values that cannot be contradicted by the actions of the organization, not even in exchange for economic benefit.
The business commitment of the day, then, has to arise from these corporate values. The commitment that your company decides to adopt must respect and be consistent with the values. To do anything other than this would cause a self-defeating dissonance, an effort doomed to fail.
Make a positive impact
After many years of working with hundreds of entrepreneurs on Shortnews247, our team has learned that the most successful professionals not only make money from their projects, but also make a positive impact on their employees, clients, and society in general.
This is not easy. Having a profitable project is already a great challenge on its own. The reality, as curious as it may seem, is that the extra effort involved in adopting and working on a business commitment brings in itself a world of benefits.
For this reason, our participation in CSR initiatives and finding ways to support important causes must be an ever-present component in our professional projects. The capacity that a productive organization has to collaborate with the society to which it belongs is often underestimated.