Ethics And Social Responsibility Considerations For New Business Owners

When starting your business, there are so many things you’ll need to think about if you want to experience success in the future. Alongside the considerations of how to structure your team, what your budgets will be, and who your target audience is, you’ll also want to spend some time setting out your business ethics and your social responsibilities as a company. These two things marry together very well, but they aren’t the same thing, contrary to popular belief. Your business ethics are your obligations to employees, customers, suppliers, clients, and even your competitors. At the same time, the social responsibility of your business is the more specific social obligations you have to society, such as giving back to your local community and taking care of the environment. Here are a few things to consider for your business to ensure these things are implemented into your business structure from the beginning.

Create A Positive Company Culture

One thing you may have heard about more recently is company culture. This is the way in which your team behaves, often influenced by yourself and others within management. The way you treat your employees will naturally have a direct impact on their morale and their productivity. Being overly assertive and rejecting any form of dissenting opinions is not a positive environment for your team and is ethically questionable. It’s worthwhile to consider implementing a more open and positive company culture in which people are encouraged to voice their opinions. This is a much more ethical practice as it makes people feel more included and part of the team rather than feeling suppressed. This will also help you to develop a better ethical framework, as people may suggest new ethical considerations for the business.

Lay Out Your Team’s Core Values

Figuring out what your business stands for is another important thing to consider when starting your new company. Your core values are something that can serve as a guiding light for many of your business decisions. However, when looking at examples of core values, it’s easy to see why every example should be applied to all businesses. For example, things such as honesty, integrity, accountability, and inclusion should really be valued by everyone. It’s worth focusing on four or five values that suit your business and defining your company’s beliefs. These values will help inform things such as who you hire, what your company culture is, and how you operate your business as a whole. It’s not easy to reset your values or implement them later, so it’s best to get these laid out as a foundation when starting your company.

Practice Sustainability Management

A big social responsibility for businesses today is caring for the environment. Climate change and environmental damage affect everyone in society, and the biggest contributors are corporations and businesses. Striving to implement sustainable practices into your business is essential if you want to show that your business cares about reducing its negative impact on the planet. It’s worthwhile having someone within your business overseeing your sustainability management. Consider offering this person the opportunity to earn a sustainability management certificate which can significantly bolster their understanding of the sustainability framework and how they can implement these practices into your business.  

Strive To Improve Your Local Community

Businesses can often dominate a community, shadowing them and potentially causing disruptions within the area. It’s common for people in the local community to attribute a level of arrogance to a business that has started up in their area, especially if they inadvertently cause problems for those around them. This could be in the form of extensive building work, deliveries, and noise, for example. Businesses have a social responsibility to their local communities, however, and it’s important to find ways in which you can benefit and engage with the local community in more ways than being a job opportunity for locals. While this is beneficial, you want to make your business a positive factor for the community, so search for ways in which you can improve the area around you via investment of both time and resources. You can also increase your business’s visibility by attending and hosting public events, working with other independent businesses, sponsoring local sports teams, and rewarding locals with discounts and deals. 

Offer Volunteered Time Off To Staff

While you can’t force your employees to volunteer and help out good causes, you can definitely make this an easier decision. One common reason people skip out on volunteering is the loss of income that can sometimes result from these endeavors. Instead, consider offering your team volunteer time off, continuing to pay them for the time they spend volunteering in the local community during work hours. This shows your support for both the community and your employees, allowing people to pursue positive activities within the community without the fear of losing any income. You could allow people to choose their own volunteering opportunities or even conduct a dedicated company-wide project to assist in helping out one specific cause within your community, lending a huge amount of manpower and resources to a specific cause.


Rylie Holt