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Socially conscious strategies, perceptions & momentum






Each month BeeHive shares timely articles providing insights & advice for those seeking to increase their socially positive impact.

Be the first to know about new articles & get updates sent directly to your inbox.


Each month BeeHive shares timely articles providing insights & advice for those seeking to increase their socially positive impact.

Be the first to know about new articles & get updates sent directly to your inbox.










A Judgement-free Company Culture

  • Feb 19, 2020

judgement free, welcome, diversity and inclusion, corporate culture, life choices, employee retention, increased productivity

Is your company culture supportive of all life choices?

Employees face countless societal expectations everyday. Successful businesses support their employees without judgment to strengthen diversity, inclusion, performance, morale, and countless other attributes of success.

At BeeHive we represent two very different lifestyle choices and work hard to create a culture where both are treated equally and provided the tools for success. 

Tessa is happily childfree and I am currently pregnant with my second. In many work environments there can be a divide and even judgement between parents and childfree adults. At BeeHive we strive to create a workplace environment that makes either choice  valid and important. 

We have flexible hours so I can leave early to pick up my daughter and Tessa can come in late to miss the horrible Austin traffic. We can work nights or weekends if we have appointments for any reason during the workweek. 

Most importantly we are judgement free. We support each other’s concerns and life events. Whether it is a sick kid, a long client lunch, a concern about aesthetics, or any other topic of conversation we consider them to be equally important and valued.

By supporting each other fully and without judgement we create an environment for each other to feel valued and thrive. When team members are supported by their employer, they work harder to support the company that they feel invested in. 

Be sure your company culture is judgment free and has systems in place to support all life choices. Productivity and morale will improve, as will your bottom line.

Happy + Healthy Employees = Increased Profits

  • Jan 14, 2020

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for people. Smart businesses will start the year evaluating how to make their employees lives better so that they have happy, productive employees. 

Happy employees like robust employee wellness programs. These aren’t the wellness programs of some high school gym teacher in the 1960s or a program that militantly tracks 25,000 steps a day. No, these are whole mind, whole body wellness programs that feel good. 

Businesses have the opportunity to make employees feel valued by improving or introducing employee wellness programs! Show them you too are interested in their happiness and wellbeing.

First create an employee work group to find out what would happiness and wellbeing means to your employees.

Easy and affordable wellness options include:

  • onsite meditation room,
  • flexible schedules including the option to work from home one day a week,
  • occasional onsite yoga class,
  • employee gardening program,
  • nutritious snack options in the break room, or
  • PTO for volunteering

Companies that invest in the well-being of employees reap financial returns from increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Strengthen your profit potential by creating an environment where your employees wellbeing and happiness is valued.

Diversity & Inclusion = More Profits

  • Dec 16, 2019

 Photographer: Gerd Fahrenhorst. Shared under CC BY 3.0 license; the image has been cropped

It is abundantly clear that diversity positively impacts the bottom line. The profit potential of a more diverse workforce has companies and organizations scrambling to implement diversity and inclusion programs.

Businesses are making constant adjustments to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals and are doing so by overcoming unconscious bias that  stymies hiring efforts and even impacts A.I. programs designed to prevent bias.

It’s not only businesses that are looking for diversity and inclusion, Millennial and Gen Z employees consider diversity and inclusion programs when seeking and accepting job opportunities. Employees want to be on winning teams, and teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to be high performing.

As these programs grow in popularity, companies have realized that successful diversity programs consider more than just ethnic and racial diversity. The practice of hiring for “culture fit” has been replaced with the practice of hiring for “culture add.” 

Considering the full spectrum of diversity in the hiring process and human resources program provides an environment where all employees feel safe to voice their opinions and ideas. It improves meeting experiences where data shows that women and minorities hold back due to fear of dismissal or failure. 

A San Francisco based start-up, Balloon, has already signed clients like Capital One, Thumbtack, Google, US Cellular, and the LA Angels for its workplace communication platform which enables company leadership to gather anonymous feedback from employees and remove bias. This concept provides an opportunity to save meeting time, which is often monopolized by senior management, and empower merit-based ideas to rise to the top.

We’re definitely on the right path to increased diversity in corporate environments and more specifically leadership positions. One thing is for sure, increasing diversity is a must for any successful business to increase revenue.

Jump Start Your CSR this Holiday Season

  • Nov 13, 2019

CSR, Holidays, End of Year giving, philanthropy, corporate philanthropy, corporate citizenship, employee engagement, corporate values, corporate brand, corporate culture, corporate social responsibility

There is no better time than the holiday season for your business to take the leap into corporate social responsibility (CSR) aka doing good.

Implementing a social responsibility program for your company comes with major ROI. Employees are more productive, engaged, and committed when they know their employer cares about them, their community, and doing good. Customers take notice and are more loyal. Team moral improves. You’re thinking… why haven’t we done this already?

Let’s start by getting creative. Many organizations are overwhelmed this time of year and that provides ample opportunities for your company to get involved. Consider a few of the activities below to dabble into CSR.

  • Participate in holiday food or toy drives.
  • Donate and/or volunteer at coat or clothing drives.
  • Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter.
  • Start an employee competition to help an organization meet end of year goals.
    • Don’t forget a prize for the winner.

To increase company participation, send an email to poll your staff on their preferred activity. Choose options that are relevant to your community and customer base. Once you know what matters to the team try some out. Or better yet, try a few out!

Encourage your employees to get involved, but start at the top. It is especially important that management is involved. Successful CSR programs have complete buy-in from the C-suite to entry-level positions. It’s always better when your team sees that giving back matters to everyone, even the CEO.

During the process, be sure to keep track of employee volunteer hours, toys donated, and team involvement. Once your first foray into CSR has ended look at the data to determine which activities and organizations really get your staff engaged, and start planning your next CSR effort. 

Whether you’re looking for a one-time holiday activity for your team or dipping your toes into the world of social good, this is the perfect time of year to get started.

Cheers!

The Power of Partnerships

  • Oct 16, 2019

EV, electric vehicles, strategic partnerships, collaboration, corporate efficiency, innovation

As much as we all aspire to be all things to all people, unless you’re an omnipresent, omniscient being or a pug that’s not a reality. As an overachiever, I’ve tried, and found the best results always come from focusing on your strengths and passions and persevering.

So, what’s the magic recipe to growing a successful and incredibly efficient business without being either a pug or a deity? Partnerships. 

Smart. Strategic. Partnerships that are mutually beneficial to all parties. Who doesn’t like a win-win scenario?

We’re seeing successful partnerships play out everyday in the Electric Vehicle industry. Companies that make chargers and superchargers for electric vehicles (EVs) need public and residential places to install their chargers. Car manufacturers and vehicle related businesses need chargers to be readily accessible to tamp down the fear of mileage limitations of EVs. Utilities need a new customer base.  Real Estate Developers need new innovative projects. Together they continue to form creative partnerships that lead to pilot projects to install chargers, ordinance changes to favor chargers, legislative changes that address everything from charger rates to locations and permitting. 

We recently highlighted an innovative EV partnership in Detroit on InfoHive. This partnership brought together utilities, the city, real estate developers, automotive manufacturers, and nonprofits. A lot of entities grew their supporters, their customers and grew their business by thinking outside the box and seeing the value in collaboration. Vanilla Ice is right- Stop. Collaborate. And listen.

These EV partnerships are building innovative pilot programs that grow their businesses, develop industry leaders, and build relationships with consumers and leaders to strengthen their brands and their businesses. 

A Happier & More Profitable Future

  • Sep 17, 2019

Jamie Diamond
Morgan Stanley
Business Roundtable
CSR
Corporate Responsibility
Redefinition of Corporate Purpose
 Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

What would happen if we all took the brave step to create the world that we want to live in? A world where it is not only okay to choose to be happy but where happiness is encouraged and enriches your bank account. 

The world can be better. It can be a place where happiness is elevated and good acts are rewarded. You can make it happen. I can make it happen. Businesses can and are making it happen by prioritizing sustainability, ethical business relationships and investing in employees and their communities.

The financial data has been telling us for years that being good to your employees, your community and your supply chain can lead to more profit.  If we think of capitalism in terms of game theory, being generous leads to others being generous in return. Being a good community partner, leads to consumers wanting to support your business. It’s the best type of vicious cycle – vicious happiness. 

This summer business delivered bold action and took positive steps to create  good in the world while increasing profit. 

Business Roundtable took the bold step to re-frame the purpose of business in the U.S. The new purpose for business is to take the lead on sustainability and prosperity by creating long term value for consumers, employees, suppliers, and communities. 

181 CEOs signed the Business Roundtable statement to re-define corporate responsibility as benefitting society and move corporate responsibility away from a laser focus on shareholders. This phenomenal shift makes for a better world and higher profits. 

Another bold step was taken by car manufacturers, who were dissatisfied with federal government action on emissions.  Car manufacturers approached the State of California and worked toward a standard agreement on emissions. This outside the box thinking improved business and our communities.

I’m going to let you in on a secret…. Good things can and do happen. This ideal world where people do good things and capitalism is no longer a dirty word whispered in hushed corners, isn’t a pipe dream from a Swede longing for her mother country. It’s happening and it’s happening in the heart of capitalism.

Welcome to the future where we’re happy and we’re profitable. 

Ways to Find New Partners and Amplify Your Impact

  • Aug 14, 2019

Collective Impact
CSR
Strategic Partnerships
SDGs
SDG
Sustainability Goals
Social Impact
Corporate Citizenship

We were asked to compile a list of the best ways to find new partners for mission-driven businesses looking to increase their impact, while staying focused on their business. Rather than keep those creative ideas close to the vest, we wanted to share.

  • Talk to your competitors. It may not seem intuitive, but by collaborating around goals of mutual interest, you save time and money, and combine forces to address your goals together.
  • Find nonprofits that are working on similar goals. To access funding, nonprofits often need private sector partners to join forces. They are set up to receive funds that can be allocated to your business for social impact goal development and implementation.
  • Talk to donors. While traditionally donors have funded nonprofits exclusively, the tide is turning, and foundations want to fund businesses that are improving social impact in areas they care about.
  • Find speaking gigs. Even at local meetups, or larger conferences, the more you get your message out about the work you are doing to address social impact goals, the more opportunities for partnership and engagement will come your way.
  • Ask your customers to get involved. From simple cause marketing tactics (add $1 to the cost of your product for a specific social impact goal) to more crowdfunding type opportunities, customers want to support socially-minded companies.
  • Consider ways your product or service could be incorporated into bigger brands or entities’ impact strategies. Partnering with bigger, more powerful companies doesn’t mean you give up autonomy. It just means you can amplify your impact and focus on profitability. (partnership does not mean buyout!)
  • Understand what your suppliers are doing. There may be ways to join forces with suppliers around a particular social impact project or program.
  • Join groups like We Mean Business (climate change) the Climate Collaborative, membership programs around the Sustainable Development Goals or programs through trade associations.
  • Learn about a new geographical region that’s important to your brand. Finding local partners can help accelerate your brand and messaging.
  • Find a mentor to learn from and share ideas with. Having a sounding board outside of your organization will help promote creative new ideas and can be a great way to test new products.
  • Be open to creative partnering. You never know when a coffee meeting with a company that is considered different or unique can lead to bigger things.
  • Find a way to survey local communities in geographies of importance to your brand. By targeting your services and products to specific needs, you have better opportunities for sales.
  • Apply for awards. There are so many new types each day and often the application isn’t onerous. The rewards can be fruitful both for impact and financially.
  • Admit where you have shortcomings and consider which types of partners could help you fill in existing gaps both for impact and for advancing your sales.
  • Find a like-minded brand to co-host a social media campaign to promote your social mission and draw visitors to your website/online store.
  • Start local. Reach out to local nonprofits or community organizations to identify opportunities for volunteerism or employee giving back days.
  • Leverage employee interests in their causes of personal interest. Dedicate each week or month to a different employee cause. Raise money and determine collectively (or in concert with the cause) how it can be utilized to best promote social impact.

Our thanks to guest blogger, Joanne Soneshine of Collective Impact. To learn more about Joanne’s work, go to https://www.connectiveimpact.com

The Expectation of Corporate Values

  • Jul 17, 2019

Dove Beauty Campaign, Corporate Values, CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, Consumer Trends, RE 100, CE 100

Creating and reporting on sustainability plans is no longer the exception among the world’s most successful companies. Sustainability reports are expected.

93% of the world’s 250 largest companies (in terms of revenue) are now reporting on sustainability and social impact. AMD, Xerox, Target, and Salesforce are just a few of these well-known responsible corporate citizens. 

Companies are increasingly taking a stand on social impact issues. Whether it is signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the MacArthur Foundation’s CE 100 (Circular Economy) pledge, or joining the #EmbracingSustainabilityChallenge, major CEOs are jumping at the opportunity to let customers know they care.

Some corporations are moving beyond signing pledges and are creating sustainability plans. Many successful corporate social responsibility programs choose a specific issue that is carefully in alignment with the values of their employees and customers. Think HEB and education, Patagonia and the environment, or Dove’s Self Esteem Project.

By choosing a social issue that resonates with your client base and employees, your business stands to increase customer loyalty and employee engagement. Properly communicating your commitment to the issue grows your customer base.

Generations X, Y, and Z are increasingly concerned about social impact and 73% of all consumers believe that a company should do more than just offering a product or service. Customers research the sustainability, diversity, and benefits of a brand before making a purchase or becoming an employee. With Gen Z, a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers, it behooves all companies to begin social impact programs before customers choose a competitor they consider to be more in line with their values.

If your business already has a social impact, are you talking about it? Let the world know. Your company should be synonymous with your good works. 

If you’ve been waiting to implement a social impact program, the time is now to get started.

Get ahead of this growing movement. There are no drawbacks to doing good in the world. 

Environmental Sustainability Drives Profit

  • Jun 19, 2019

Environmental Sustainability drives profit, crisis preparation, SDGs, ESG, Climate Action, Climate Change

“Let’s Keep Austin Weird” has long been the ethos of Austin, Texas.  Live here long enough and weird just becomes normal. Even outsiders who might more readily see Austin’s weirdness, would likely agree that when Austin smelled like the sea during the summer of 2017, weird had reached a new level.

Hurricane Harvey, which sat over Texas for 4 days and dumped 60 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast delivered the smell of the sea 200 miles inland to Austin. It was bizarre, that’s for sure. Quirkier than the naked unicyclist.


Was Hurricane Harvey an aberration? Who knows. I do know that it seems like some part of the world is always being hit by a new record breaking weather event. Our new reality is full of record breaking weather.

Since none of us mere mortals control mother nature, what can we do to protect our businesses from increasingly severe weather?

Accept that mother nature is going to do some really weird things; Use data & technology to our advantage to meet changes in supply chains, financial complications, or business disruptions caused by weird weather; Adapt to the new normal of weird weather by thinking and planning based on what business will look like and what it will need; and Be flexible.

Businesses are starting to talk about adapting to unusual weather. The business academics, like MIT Sloan School, are planning for how businesses should rethink financial risk during weird weather events. This is a savvy introduction.

Politicians of all ilk are talking about adapting to and being flexible with our new normal of weird weather. In Florida, a Republican Governor appointed the first ever Chief Science Officer to find “science-based solutions” to environmental concerns. Let’s not care if they are motivated by tourism dollars or a love of the environment. Let’s relish that a positive, sustainable outlook is winning.

No need to panic when you’ve planned accordingly. Let’s get ahead of this trend and make strategic decisions today.

The world isn’t ending. We’re adapting. We’re planning. We’re making sustainable choices that also sustain profitability.

Caring for Employee Mental Health: Increased Productivity/Profit

  • Jun 04, 2019

Employee Retention, Employee Engagement, Employee Mental Health, People Planet and Profit, Sustainability

Who among us hasn’t worked in a stressful environment? An environment where there wasn’t a spare moment to recharge your mind? 

During my nonprofit career, while barely making a living wage, I was often expected to promptly reply to texts and emails at all hours on my personal cellphone. I’ve been screamed and cursed at in front of coworkers and told to cancel doctor’s appointments while pregnant to attend last minute work meetings. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the exception.

Research indicates that it lowers morale, increases stress levels for workers and greatly reduces productivity as well as profits globally. According the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the three top European countries for hours worked, Greece, Poland, and Hungary, are ranked last for productivity. 

Are you ready for the GOOD NEWS? Employers who militantly overwork their employees are considered antiquated and unconcerned about profitability. 35% of large and mid-size businesses in the U.S offer stress-reduction programs. Many promote work-life balance, encouraging employees to disconnect after hours, take 2-3 week vacations, and take lunches away from their desks. Some top Fortune 500 companies offer bonuses for employees who use all of their vacation time, take their allocated days off to volunteer, and disconnect. Other companies offer onsite yoga, meditation, or wellness programs.

You might ask, why would a business encourage employees to work less? Because more studies show that productivity AND profit is attributable to quality of time working NOT quantity of time working. 

According to the World Health Organization, “workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.” 

Alternatively employers that do not implement stress-reduction programs to promote mental health and encourage work-life balance will suffer from a whopping 65% of employees being distracted 31-50 hours a week while at work! That number is astounding, but I believe it. I admit to spending time crying in the bathroom after being verbally abused by a supervisor -not exactly the most productive behavior.

During mental health month, we encourage all employers to do what we’ve always known to be the right thing – be kind. When you treat your employees kindly, they treat you well. Businesses want their employees to have a vested interest in the company’s success.

Kindness goes a long way folks – for mental health AND profits!

A Judgement-free Company Culture

  • Feb 19, 2020

judgement free, welcome, diversity and inclusion, corporate culture, life choices, employee retention, increased productivity

Is your company culture supportive of all life choices?

Employees face countless societal expectations everyday. Successful businesses support their employees without judgment to strengthen diversity, inclusion, performance, morale, and countless other attributes of success.

At BeeHive we represent two very different lifestyle choices and work hard to create a culture where both are treated equally and provided the tools for success. 

Tessa is happily childfree and I am currently pregnant with my second. In many work environments there can be a divide and even judgement between parents and childfree adults. At BeeHive we strive to create a workplace environment that makes either choice  valid and important. 

We have flexible hours so I can leave early to pick up my daughter and Tessa can come in late to miss the horrible Austin traffic. We can work nights or weekends if we have appointments for any reason during the workweek. 

Most importantly we are judgement free. We support each other’s concerns and life events. Whether it is a sick kid, a long client lunch, a concern about aesthetics, or any other topic of conversation we consider them to be equally important and valued.

By supporting each other fully and without judgement we create an environment for each other to feel valued and thrive. When team members are supported by their employer, they work harder to support the company that they feel invested in. 

Be sure your company culture is judgment free and has systems in place to support all life choices. Productivity and morale will improve, as will your bottom line.

Happy + Healthy Employees = Increased Profits

  • Jan 14, 2020

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for people. Smart businesses will start the year evaluating how to make their employees lives better so that they have happy, productive employees. 

Happy employees like robust employee wellness programs. These aren’t the wellness programs of some high school gym teacher in the 1960s or a program that militantly tracks 25,000 steps a day. No, these are whole mind, whole body wellness programs that feel good. 

Businesses have the opportunity to make employees feel valued by improving or introducing employee wellness programs! Show them you too are interested in their happiness and wellbeing.

First create an employee work group to find out what would happiness and wellbeing means to your employees.

Easy and affordable wellness options include:

  • onsite meditation room,
  • flexible schedules including the option to work from home one day a week,
  • occasional onsite yoga class,
  • employee gardening program,
  • nutritious snack options in the break room, or
  • PTO for volunteering

Companies that invest in the well-being of employees reap financial returns from increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Strengthen your profit potential by creating an environment where your employees wellbeing and happiness is valued.

Diversity & Inclusion = More Profits

  • Dec 16, 2019

 Photographer: Gerd Fahrenhorst. Shared under CC BY 3.0 license; the image has been cropped

It is abundantly clear that diversity positively impacts the bottom line. The profit potential of a more diverse workforce has companies and organizations scrambling to implement diversity and inclusion programs.

Businesses are making constant adjustments to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals and are doing so by overcoming unconscious bias that  stymies hiring efforts and even impacts A.I. programs designed to prevent bias.

It’s not only businesses that are looking for diversity and inclusion, Millennial and Gen Z employees consider diversity and inclusion programs when seeking and accepting job opportunities. Employees want to be on winning teams, and teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to be high performing.

As these programs grow in popularity, companies have realized that successful diversity programs consider more than just ethnic and racial diversity. The practice of hiring for “culture fit” has been replaced with the practice of hiring for “culture add.” 

Considering the full spectrum of diversity in the hiring process and human resources program provides an environment where all employees feel safe to voice their opinions and ideas. It improves meeting experiences where data shows that women and minorities hold back due to fear of dismissal or failure. 

A San Francisco based start-up, Balloon, has already signed clients like Capital One, Thumbtack, Google, US Cellular, and the LA Angels for its workplace communication platform which enables company leadership to gather anonymous feedback from employees and remove bias. This concept provides an opportunity to save meeting time, which is often monopolized by senior management, and empower merit-based ideas to rise to the top.

We’re definitely on the right path to increased diversity in corporate environments and more specifically leadership positions. One thing is for sure, increasing diversity is a must for any successful business to increase revenue.

Jump Start Your CSR this Holiday Season

  • Nov 13, 2019

CSR, Holidays, End of Year giving, philanthropy, corporate philanthropy, corporate citizenship, employee engagement, corporate values, corporate brand, corporate culture, corporate social responsibility

There is no better time than the holiday season for your business to take the leap into corporate social responsibility (CSR) aka doing good.

Implementing a social responsibility program for your company comes with major ROI. Employees are more productive, engaged, and committed when they know their employer cares about them, their community, and doing good. Customers take notice and are more loyal. Team moral improves. You’re thinking… why haven’t we done this already?

Let’s start by getting creative. Many organizations are overwhelmed this time of year and that provides ample opportunities for your company to get involved. Consider a few of the activities below to dabble into CSR.

  • Participate in holiday food or toy drives.
  • Donate and/or volunteer at coat or clothing drives.
  • Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter.
  • Start an employee competition to help an organization meet end of year goals.
    • Don’t forget a prize for the winner.

To increase company participation, send an email to poll your staff on their preferred activity. Choose options that are relevant to your community and customer base. Once you know what matters to the team try some out. Or better yet, try a few out!

Encourage your employees to get involved, but start at the top. It is especially important that management is involved. Successful CSR programs have complete buy-in from the C-suite to entry-level positions. It’s always better when your team sees that giving back matters to everyone, even the CEO.

During the process, be sure to keep track of employee volunteer hours, toys donated, and team involvement. Once your first foray into CSR has ended look at the data to determine which activities and organizations really get your staff engaged, and start planning your next CSR effort. 

Whether you’re looking for a one-time holiday activity for your team or dipping your toes into the world of social good, this is the perfect time of year to get started.

Cheers!

The Power of Partnerships

  • Oct 16, 2019

EV, electric vehicles, strategic partnerships, collaboration, corporate efficiency, innovation

As much as we all aspire to be all things to all people, unless you’re an omnipresent, omniscient being or a pug that’s not a reality. As an overachiever, I’ve tried, and found the best results always come from focusing on your strengths and passions and persevering.

So, what’s the magic recipe to growing a successful and incredibly efficient business without being either a pug or a deity? Partnerships. 

Smart. Strategic. Partnerships that are mutually beneficial to all parties. Who doesn’t like a win-win scenario?

We’re seeing successful partnerships play out everyday in the Electric Vehicle industry. Companies that make chargers and superchargers for electric vehicles (EVs) need public and residential places to install their chargers. Car manufacturers and vehicle related businesses need chargers to be readily accessible to tamp down the fear of mileage limitations of EVs. Utilities need a new customer base.  Real Estate Developers need new innovative projects. Together they continue to form creative partnerships that lead to pilot projects to install chargers, ordinance changes to favor chargers, legislative changes that address everything from charger rates to locations and permitting. 

We recently highlighted an innovative EV partnership in Detroit on InfoHive. This partnership brought together utilities, the city, real estate developers, automotive manufacturers, and nonprofits. A lot of entities grew their supporters, their customers and grew their business by thinking outside the box and seeing the value in collaboration. Vanilla Ice is right- Stop. Collaborate. And listen.

These EV partnerships are building innovative pilot programs that grow their businesses, develop industry leaders, and build relationships with consumers and leaders to strengthen their brands and their businesses. 

A Happier & More Profitable Future

  • Sep 17, 2019

Jamie Diamond
Morgan Stanley
Business Roundtable
CSR
Corporate Responsibility
Redefinition of Corporate Purpose
 Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

What would happen if we all took the brave step to create the world that we want to live in? A world where it is not only okay to choose to be happy but where happiness is encouraged and enriches your bank account. 

The world can be better. It can be a place where happiness is elevated and good acts are rewarded. You can make it happen. I can make it happen. Businesses can and are making it happen by prioritizing sustainability, ethical business relationships and investing in employees and their communities.

The financial data has been telling us for years that being good to your employees, your community and your supply chain can lead to more profit.  If we think of capitalism in terms of game theory, being generous leads to others being generous in return. Being a good community partner, leads to consumers wanting to support your business. It’s the best type of vicious cycle – vicious happiness. 

This summer business delivered bold action and took positive steps to create  good in the world while increasing profit. 

Business Roundtable took the bold step to re-frame the purpose of business in the U.S. The new purpose for business is to take the lead on sustainability and prosperity by creating long term value for consumers, employees, suppliers, and communities. 

181 CEOs signed the Business Roundtable statement to re-define corporate responsibility as benefitting society and move corporate responsibility away from a laser focus on shareholders. This phenomenal shift makes for a better world and higher profits. 

Another bold step was taken by car manufacturers, who were dissatisfied with federal government action on emissions.  Car manufacturers approached the State of California and worked toward a standard agreement on emissions. This outside the box thinking improved business and our communities.

I’m going to let you in on a secret…. Good things can and do happen. This ideal world where people do good things and capitalism is no longer a dirty word whispered in hushed corners, isn’t a pipe dream from a Swede longing for her mother country. It’s happening and it’s happening in the heart of capitalism.

Welcome to the future where we’re happy and we’re profitable. 

Ways to Find New Partners and Amplify Your Impact

  • Aug 14, 2019

Collective Impact
CSR
Strategic Partnerships
SDGs
SDG
Sustainability Goals
Social Impact
Corporate Citizenship

We were asked to compile a list of the best ways to find new partners for mission-driven businesses looking to increase their impact, while staying focused on their business. Rather than keep those creative ideas close to the vest, we wanted to share.

  • Talk to your competitors. It may not seem intuitive, but by collaborating around goals of mutual interest, you save time and money, and combine forces to address your goals together.
  • Find nonprofits that are working on similar goals. To access funding, nonprofits often need private sector partners to join forces. They are set up to receive funds that can be allocated to your business for social impact goal development and implementation.
  • Talk to donors. While traditionally donors have funded nonprofits exclusively, the tide is turning, and foundations want to fund businesses that are improving social impact in areas they care about.
  • Find speaking gigs. Even at local meetups, or larger conferences, the more you get your message out about the work you are doing to address social impact goals, the more opportunities for partnership and engagement will come your way.
  • Ask your customers to get involved. From simple cause marketing tactics (add $1 to the cost of your product for a specific social impact goal) to more crowdfunding type opportunities, customers want to support socially-minded companies.
  • Consider ways your product or service could be incorporated into bigger brands or entities’ impact strategies. Partnering with bigger, more powerful companies doesn’t mean you give up autonomy. It just means you can amplify your impact and focus on profitability. (partnership does not mean buyout!)
  • Understand what your suppliers are doing. There may be ways to join forces with suppliers around a particular social impact project or program.
  • Join groups like We Mean Business (climate change) the Climate Collaborative, membership programs around the Sustainable Development Goals or programs through trade associations.
  • Learn about a new geographical region that’s important to your brand. Finding local partners can help accelerate your brand and messaging.
  • Find a mentor to learn from and share ideas with. Having a sounding board outside of your organization will help promote creative new ideas and can be a great way to test new products.
  • Be open to creative partnering. You never know when a coffee meeting with a company that is considered different or unique can lead to bigger things.
  • Find a way to survey local communities in geographies of importance to your brand. By targeting your services and products to specific needs, you have better opportunities for sales.
  • Apply for awards. There are so many new types each day and often the application isn’t onerous. The rewards can be fruitful both for impact and financially.
  • Admit where you have shortcomings and consider which types of partners could help you fill in existing gaps both for impact and for advancing your sales.
  • Find a like-minded brand to co-host a social media campaign to promote your social mission and draw visitors to your website/online store.
  • Start local. Reach out to local nonprofits or community organizations to identify opportunities for volunteerism or employee giving back days.
  • Leverage employee interests in their causes of personal interest. Dedicate each week or month to a different employee cause. Raise money and determine collectively (or in concert with the cause) how it can be utilized to best promote social impact.

Our thanks to guest blogger, Joanne Soneshine of Collective Impact. To learn more about Joanne’s work, go to https://www.connectiveimpact.com

The Expectation of Corporate Values

  • Jul 17, 2019

Dove Beauty Campaign, Corporate Values, CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, Consumer Trends, RE 100, CE 100

Creating and reporting on sustainability plans is no longer the exception among the world’s most successful companies. Sustainability reports are expected.

93% of the world’s 250 largest companies (in terms of revenue) are now reporting on sustainability and social impact. AMD, Xerox, Target, and Salesforce are just a few of these well-known responsible corporate citizens. 

Companies are increasingly taking a stand on social impact issues. Whether it is signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the MacArthur Foundation’s CE 100 (Circular Economy) pledge, or joining the #EmbracingSustainabilityChallenge, major CEOs are jumping at the opportunity to let customers know they care.

Some corporations are moving beyond signing pledges and are creating sustainability plans. Many successful corporate social responsibility programs choose a specific issue that is carefully in alignment with the values of their employees and customers. Think HEB and education, Patagonia and the environment, or Dove’s Self Esteem Project.

By choosing a social issue that resonates with your client base and employees, your business stands to increase customer loyalty and employee engagement. Properly communicating your commitment to the issue grows your customer base.

Generations X, Y, and Z are increasingly concerned about social impact and 73% of all consumers believe that a company should do more than just offering a product or service. Customers research the sustainability, diversity, and benefits of a brand before making a purchase or becoming an employee. With Gen Z, a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers, it behooves all companies to begin social impact programs before customers choose a competitor they consider to be more in line with their values.

If your business already has a social impact, are you talking about it? Let the world know. Your company should be synonymous with your good works. 

If you’ve been waiting to implement a social impact program, the time is now to get started.

Get ahead of this growing movement. There are no drawbacks to doing good in the world. 

Environmental Sustainability Drives Profit

  • Jun 19, 2019

Environmental Sustainability drives profit, crisis preparation, SDGs, ESG, Climate Action, Climate Change

“Let’s Keep Austin Weird” has long been the ethos of Austin, Texas.  Live here long enough and weird just becomes normal. Even outsiders who might more readily see Austin’s weirdness, would likely agree that when Austin smelled like the sea during the summer of 2017, weird had reached a new level.

Hurricane Harvey, which sat over Texas for 4 days and dumped 60 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast delivered the smell of the sea 200 miles inland to Austin. It was bizarre, that’s for sure. Quirkier than the naked unicyclist.


Was Hurricane Harvey an aberration? Who knows. I do know that it seems like some part of the world is always being hit by a new record breaking weather event. Our new reality is full of record breaking weather.

Since none of us mere mortals control mother nature, what can we do to protect our businesses from increasingly severe weather?

Accept that mother nature is going to do some really weird things; Use data & technology to our advantage to meet changes in supply chains, financial complications, or business disruptions caused by weird weather; Adapt to the new normal of weird weather by thinking and planning based on what business will look like and what it will need; and Be flexible.

Businesses are starting to talk about adapting to unusual weather. The business academics, like MIT Sloan School, are planning for how businesses should rethink financial risk during weird weather events. This is a savvy introduction.

Politicians of all ilk are talking about adapting to and being flexible with our new normal of weird weather. In Florida, a Republican Governor appointed the first ever Chief Science Officer to find “science-based solutions” to environmental concerns. Let’s not care if they are motivated by tourism dollars or a love of the environment. Let’s relish that a positive, sustainable outlook is winning.

No need to panic when you’ve planned accordingly. Let’s get ahead of this trend and make strategic decisions today.

The world isn’t ending. We’re adapting. We’re planning. We’re making sustainable choices that also sustain profitability.

Caring for Employee Mental Health: Increased Productivity/Profit

  • Jun 04, 2019

Employee Retention, Employee Engagement, Employee Mental Health, People Planet and Profit, Sustainability

Who among us hasn’t worked in a stressful environment? An environment where there wasn’t a spare moment to recharge your mind? 

During my nonprofit career, while barely making a living wage, I was often expected to promptly reply to texts and emails at all hours on my personal cellphone. I’ve been screamed and cursed at in front of coworkers and told to cancel doctor’s appointments while pregnant to attend last minute work meetings. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the exception.

Research indicates that it lowers morale, increases stress levels for workers and greatly reduces productivity as well as profits globally. According the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the three top European countries for hours worked, Greece, Poland, and Hungary, are ranked last for productivity. 

Are you ready for the GOOD NEWS? Employers who militantly overwork their employees are considered antiquated and unconcerned about profitability. 35% of large and mid-size businesses in the U.S offer stress-reduction programs. Many promote work-life balance, encouraging employees to disconnect after hours, take 2-3 week vacations, and take lunches away from their desks. Some top Fortune 500 companies offer bonuses for employees who use all of their vacation time, take their allocated days off to volunteer, and disconnect. Other companies offer onsite yoga, meditation, or wellness programs.

You might ask, why would a business encourage employees to work less? Because more studies show that productivity AND profit is attributable to quality of time working NOT quantity of time working. 

According to the World Health Organization, “workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.” 

Alternatively employers that do not implement stress-reduction programs to promote mental health and encourage work-life balance will suffer from a whopping 65% of employees being distracted 31-50 hours a week while at work! That number is astounding, but I believe it. I admit to spending time crying in the bathroom after being verbally abused by a supervisor -not exactly the most productive behavior.

During mental health month, we encourage all employers to do what we’ve always known to be the right thing – be kind. When you treat your employees kindly, they treat you well. Businesses want their employees to have a vested interest in the company’s success.

Kindness goes a long way folks – for mental health AND profits!