Helping organisations understand Social Value

In this blog I’m talking about Industry reputation and how this affects recruitment of staff. Do you know the reputation of the sector you work in? Does it affect the type of applicant within your business?

The reputation of a sector does affect those businesses operating within it – both positively and negatively. It can make it difficult to recruit staff, or to recruit the right staff – particularly if reputation and perception doesn’t match the reality.

I offer as an example the charity sector, with which I’ve worked for many years. The Third (social purpose) Sector is full of passionate, committed people who care about the causes for which they work. There is however, a scarcity of enterprise minded individuals, and in many charities, a ‘business like’ approach is viewed with suspicion and negativity. This attitude within the sector doesn’t help social purpose organisations. These need to be managed accountably and efficiently in order to have any chance of survival in today’s tough economic climate – in fact I maintain that charity organisations need to be even better managed than many commercial organisations, because they have to balance both their charitable purpose and operational issues.

How can an effective Corporate Responsibility strategy and communications help?

CR can help with a number of issues. There aren’t many sectors that have a truly negative reputation, some have their issues, but for most industries it’s about stakeholder (your staff, customers, communities and suppliers) awareness, understanding and profile building. Internally (within your sector peers) CR can help raise professionalism and delivery standards.

Good CR builds advocates for your organization. Implementing some of the structures that help motivate and engage your employees (which I’ve talked about in previous blogs) will encourage staff to become vocal supporters of your business and your sector. For example, encouraging staff to create career videos to be played to school children (careers programmes are pretty embedded in schools nowadays) will give practical examples of the kind of people and talents you want to employ. They’ll also break down any misconceptions about the sector, or re-enforce positive messages.

This also gives an organization a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. If you’re being pro-active in your local community, encouraging young people into your sector and investing in those you employ, you’re really future proofing your organization. Working together with other organisations within your sector can take it to a higher level, developing professionalism.

STEM is a good example of collaboration within technical industries. If you work within a smaller organization don’t see this as a barrier to collaboration – think creatively and promote you sector!