To be the owner of a truly socially conscious business requires more thought and action than simply volunteering at a random event here or there. You must think deeply about the social causes/issues that matter most to you and your business (employees + customers included) and work towards providing something real and beneficial.
To implement changes in your business to better reflect a sense of social responsibility, you don't necessarily have to do anything drastic. You can begin with small, simple changes with your customers, employees, and local community. Empathetic businesses consider the wants and needs of those around them; you might be able to achieve this by altering employee titles to give them more confidence, more say, and more control over their aspect of the business. You can alter the way in which you greet and work with customers to reiterate that you also care about them on a deeper level. These tactics can greatly affect social change, and they can also benefit the most important elements of your business: earnings, productivity, and growth.
Of course, in order to treat your employees and customers better, you must learn to erase unconscious biases in the workplace. Although we are an overall more accepting people in modern times, many of us still harbour an unintentional, unconscious bias towards certain demographics - females, LGBTQ community members, racial and/or religious minorities, and so on. Bias hurts business. If you feel that you are struggling with bias, it's important to know that it is often an unintentional response and it can be altered for the better.
Skilled and effective workers really do come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and walks of life; it's imperative to always remember that. You know you should never judge a book by its cover, and now is the time to put that wisdom into practice. Highly qualified individuals slip through the cracks all the time as a result of some form of unconscious bias, and not only is this a loss for your business but it further complicates your ability to be socially responsible and inclusive.
Ensuring fair treatment among your employees also means you must provide all genders and ethnicities in the same positions with equal pay/compensation. There is still a significant wage gap between males and females, especially in the higher level positions of business. Numerous studies have concluded that the work ethic, competency, and effectiveness of an employee is not at all dictated by their gender or cultural identity. Pay disparities must be identified and corrected; this may be a moment of introspection for many business owners as they review the truth. Unequal pay represents a liability to your company, it's as simple as that.
Small business are often just as equally affected by these gaps, and you don't need to be a massive corporation to implement socially conscious changes. Never ignore the grievances of your employees, but also never ignore their strengths and accomplishments. The word of an employee can often carry more force than the word of a customer, as they are the ones who are privy to the inner-workings of a business. "You have the opportunity to discover and correct your company's inequalities as they emerge. Take it."
If you're interested in supporting a socially conscious business today, check out our Indiegogo Campaign or consider purchasing a deodorant. We exist to benefit our customers, employees, and the world at large in a number of exciting and commendable ways.