Guest Blog – Michelle Cirocco of Televerde
My favorite conversation topic right now is business as a “force for good.” This describes companies that look beyond profit to act responsibly and to actively contribute to making the world better. Many refer to this as capitalism with conscious, or “conscious capitalism.” It’s a phrase that is growing in significance as more companies heed the call and commit to help drive greater social change.
But what exactly does it mean? And if you don’t work for a company like TOMs, Bombas or Ben & Jerry’s, how can you become a conscious capitalist and use your business as a force good?
You can start with the Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation signed by 181 CEOs who commit to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. The document states that all Americans deserve an economy that allows them to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity. Further, that while each company serves its own corporate purpose, it should also share a fundamental commitment to all of its stakeholders, which includes delivering value to customers, investing in employees, dealing fairly and ethically with suppliers, supporting communities, and generating long-term value for shareholders.
Although this sounds good and noble, you’re probably wondering what specifically you can do in your role or at your company to impact more than just the top-line. For starters, you can incorporate the principles practiced by some of the most successful examples of conscious capitalism. For example,
- Zappos who consistently tops the customer experience charts because they are obsessed with surprising and delighting customers. Employees empowered to make decisions, provide solutions, send unexpected gifts that enable them to make a connection and build relationships with customers.
- Unilever who has topped the list of global supply chain leaders for more than three years, largely because of their commitment to understating their upstream footprint and collaborating with their suppliers to support environmental and sustainability goals.
- Whole Foods who has always been known for their commitment to environmental stewardship and their 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle where they put the “planet before profit.”
Or you can take a page out of Televerde’s playbook, a sales and marketing solutions company that’s been hiring and empowering incarcerated women in Arizona and Indiana with the most in-demand hard and soft skills for 25 years. The level of knowledge and on-the-job experience that the company provides enables women to secure highly competitive career positions upon release. Case in point: graduates attain employment after release at a rate of 44.3 percent higher than other released female U.S. prisoners and earn almost four times the national average for formerly incarcerated females. This leads to a recidivism rate that is 91 percent lower than the national average for Televerde program participants. (You can read more about the company’s impact here.)
As leaders in business, investing in people is the easiest and most effective way to have a positive impact. When you take the time to really invest in your people, you will be rewarded in many ways, including increased productivity, greater employee retention, happier customers, stronger customer loyalty and more.
Today, businesses are best positioned to empower people to achieve their personal best. We know doing so delivers significant business, social and economic results and this is really important. Perhaps most meaningful is what it says about the companies that embrace and invest in their workforce and communities: it says you believe in purpose beyond profit – and that you’re committed to making the world better through the ways you treat people. This is powerful and it’s what people and companies will be remembered for most.
Michelle Cirocco is Chief Social Responsibility Officer for Televerde, an integrated sales and marketing technology organization based in Phoenix, Arizona.