Emerging in the year 2020, most people are already starting to make plans for what they are going to achieve in the new year. Be it keeping your body in a good shape, learning something new, expanding your social circles or getting on a new career track, all the initiatives are nonetheless very motivating and important to personal growth both for business owners and working individuals.
Among all the events that have happened last year, which happened to be 2019, one of the most important topics that were greatly discussed – Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, remains a core issue that the world should have paid more attention to. Personal achievement, goals or dreams are important, but if your endeavor relies heavily on the well-being of your company, be it big or small, it is very important for you to start taking note of CSR. My Weekend Plan will share with you what is CSR, the importance of CSR and out top 5 pick of CSR activities. Read on.
What is CSR
It’s not common to talk about Corporate Social Responsibility in Malaysia as the awareness is not as widespread as in the developed nation. So, the simple definition for CSR is a corporation’s initiative to take up the responsibility to plan, organize and execute activities or cause that benefits the environment or social wellbeing in the community.
The cause undertaken by corporate is akin to a long-term commitment to manage their business in an ethical manner while striving to give back to society through economic and social development. Making sure their own workforce and their families are being taken care of properly is a starting point for the business to expand its vision of contribution to society at large.
To put it simply, providing a good working environment to the employees and making sure their well-being is aptly taken care of is very important in building a motivating atmosphere that not only drives the productivity of workers but also the image of the company, and finally your vision towards your dream. It is absolutely necessary to make sure the company puts serious thought on it as people are greatly influenced by their perception. If the image projected is positive, talents are more than willing to join your team. That’s common sense.
Importance of CSR
If you are not that clear on why a corporation should practice CSR from the ground root level, know that the recommended practice plays a key role in helping businesses or corporations to reach a higher level of interactivity and engagement with the public. This is a very “profitable” aspect for the business, knowing that by embracing socially responsible policies in a consistent manner, it could reward you with repeated visits from customers and potentially effective word-of-mouth messages from your loyal customers. This is imperative for the long term growth and success of the company. Besides, introducing such policies would encourage more people to buy from you at a premium price, knowing that they are actually participating in a good cause themselves with the extra profits being subject to benign use.
Here are the 3 Reasons Corporation should practice CSR
1. Elevation of Public Image.
Corporations take priority in ensuring their image stays positive all year long. Being a socially responsible company can boost a company’s image and subsequently elevate its brand awareness to another level. In other words, CSR is important in brand building strategy and should be given adequate attention.
2. Inducing Purpose in Employees
Employees are just “robot workers” when there is no purpose being implanted within them. They are merely collecting their paycheck and carry out their duty in a repetitive manner. However, with a firm purpose created through social responsibility, it empowers them to have the mindset and intention to give back to society and appreciate the value your corporation holds. It gives them a sense of purpose when carrying their task that helps in talent retention and personal development.
3. Increased productivity and company morale
Company that focuses on social responsibility programs will not overlook the importance of taking care of their employees’ well being in the first place. Hence, making sure your employees being treated fairly and adequately will result in a bolster of company morale that leads to higher work productivity.
Now that we know the importance of CSR, let us delve into some interesting corporate social responsibility activities in Malaysia that will make your year 2020 as fruitful and productive as possible!
2020 Top 5 CSR activities for companies in Malaysia
“Baking is a tedious process. Why would I learn to bake when I can purchase it anywhere?” Have you heard anything like it before? Most probably you would have heard similar statements blurted out by the average adults. However, a lot of people are unaware that involving oneself in a baking session could help the elderly relax and unwind. Believe it or not, studies have shown that baking can be considered a useful therapy that helps to reduce stress, calm patients suffering from dementia as well as mitigate depression.
Elderly people suffering from dementia lose their appetites frequently and find it hard to swallow food during mealtimes. Baking sessions, however, provide a good stimulation to their senses such as the texture of the flour, the sound of the blender, the smell of the icing flakes and the delightful vision of the end product all contribute to elevating their appetite. These experiences will one way or another encourage them to enjoy food again.
The repetitive action of kneading dough, mixing the batter and preparing the mold is akin to setting oneself on a meditation journey that would greatly enhance peacefulness and calm. Besides, having companions baking together would add in an element of fun and social interaction that would be beneficial for the seniors. It allows them to convey their feelings and express their opinions in a way relatable to them and this would greatly improve their mood and subsequently their well-being. Moreover, enjoying a piece of their baking pastries after all the “hard” work could really make their day too!
Companies could organize a baking class especially for the elderly and encourage the participation of their own employees. They could learn to appreciate the time spent interacting with individuals akin to their own parents, listening to their life experiences and having fun together for a special cause. It would do great to the employee’s self-recognition as well as the company’s public image.
2. Environmental Cleanup
Our environment has been “deeply” polluted by human activities. This has been an ongoing issue that should have kept everyone on their toes. Everyone wishes to stay in a healthy and safe environment, don’t we? So, instead of waiting for somebody to clean up our “rubbish”, we could take the initiative to make a difference to the environment.
Companies could list beach, park, river or highways cleanup as one of their top CSR activities in 2020. This is especially important if the surrounding of the company is littered with rubbish and garbage. Although it seems like a cleaner’s work, it is absolutely anyone’s duty to keep the surrounding environment as clean and free of rubbish as possible. We could not forget how diseases like dengue have caused mayhem in the neighborhood, couldn’t we? So, clean up is a must, albeit it could be someone else’s work.
Besides keeping the environment of the company clean, companies could also organize “clean-up trips” to the beaches. The view on our beaches remains an eye-sore with garbage littered here and there. Organizing a CSR clean-up session not only helps to preserve the cleanliness of the beaches but creating awareness on the importance of clean beaches. The public would regard the employees with respect and admiration while at the same time serve a reminder on the need to keep our environment clean.
No one would deny the joy of seeing a “cleaned up” beach either!
How many times have we seen people with disabilities roaming the streets begging for money or slouching in eateries with no proper support and care? It is clear that they are lacking the basic motor-function to fight for survival and subsequently could not secure any jobs that would help them to lead a normal life.
Companies could do their part by periodically organizing art & craft classes for them through dedicated CSR programs. Under this program, they could gradually learn a trade of their own and create an income for themselves. It is not uncommon to see talented people with disabilities flourishing with their creativity and art skills. Michelangelo, Francisco Goya, Paul Klee, Van Gogh, and Henri Matisse were the world’s famous artists with disabilities. Thus, with proper guidance and systematic lessons, these group of people could prove to society their worth by creating pieces of artwork.
Instead of putting them off our radar, it is much better if we understand the difficulties these people face and make effort in providing them access to valuable skills and knowledge. By setting a realistic schedule and suitable art curriculum, they will no doubt pick up the pace and learn to make a living out of the skills they learned. The public would also appreciate these artworks more knowing that they are supporting a company’s benevolent cause which helps to drive up the company’s recognition and public image as well.
Constant participation in such CSR activities would no doubt do an abundance of good for the employees of the company as well. Giving them the opportunity to have a closer interaction with disabled people build their empathy sentiment and appreciation for what they own. CSR is not an obligation, but a chance to treasure life and give back to society.
4. Setting up environmental-friendly corporate policies
Yes, you heard it right. Coming out with appropriate corporate policies to protect the environment is one of the best CSR activities that would benefit the company to a great degree. Practices like reducing the usage of papers, setting up recycling bins throughout the offices, replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs could really help to minimize the impact on the environment as well as reducing company cost.
Reducing carbon footprints should always be in the mind of business owners as it is one useful way for businesses to operate in an ethical way that does minimal harm to the environment. To date, we have seen a lot of companies stepping up their effort in ensuring their employees take up such practices as well.
By implementing such policies and guidelines, everyone in the company will realize the importance of preserving the environment and strive to make a difference. They would also appreciate the efforts of leaders calling for a change and would gladly share their company’s good recognition to other people, driving up their public image.
It’s not hard to have an influence on the working culture and environment, it’s just a matter of time and appropriate education to instill the discipline of making the world a better place to live in.
Every child should be given an ample chance to showcase their talent and creativity. This is true for kids with disabilities as well. There are lots of cases happening in the world where kids with disabilities such as down syndrome are being abandoned by their families. This is especially heartbreaking knowing that a child without family support is being left to fend for his or her own survival. As an end result, orphanages tend to be the caretaker for these poor souls and provide them with minimum support and care.
Companies could do their part by organizing interesting activities to engage with these children. They need others to interact, teach and guide them on how this world works and what’s happening around them. CSR activities like cookie decoration sessions could be a simple solution where employees could share the precious experience with the children from baking cookies to guiding them on various methods of decoration.
Children suffering from disorders like down syndrome and autism would find it difficult to learn something new and grasping what’s happening around them. So it would do them a whole world of good to have somebody guiding them on motor-skills practices as well as exposing them to a culinary delight. Together with dedicated professionals, they could pick up various drawing techniques and unleash their hidden creativity.
Under the supervision of CSR participants, these children would also mingle with each other while learning something new at the same time. It might occur that some of them show glimpses of drawing talent too! So, it is imperative that the public does not see them as a burden but instead taking the initiative to make them feel appreciated. By setting an example and leading the way in CSR, companies would definitely benefit from this excursion.
The above 5 CSR activities could be your way to creating a better future not only from one nation’s perspective but also on a global scale. There’s still a lot of work to be done and effort to be put in the cause but as long as bearing the importance of CSR in mind, we can be assured of a better tomorrow, both for us and the future generations.
If you are wondering what other CSR activities you could do for your company, feel free to contact us to know more about CSR and what types of customized activities we could plan out for you. We would be more than delighted to help you achieve your business goals while keeping in mind the importance of social and environmental well-being.