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How significant is it to redefine corporate social responsibility

How significant is it to redefine corporate social responsibility

Giving back and being responsible are crucial for governments, businesses and individuals in the region for longer sustainability

CSR is corporate social responsibility; however, I don’t think of it like that. I think that it is all about being responsible.

Not corporately. Nor socially. Just responsible.

The revolution has already happened. It took place sometime between January and April 2020. The world is forever changed. Money is the old currency. Offering meaningful help and fulfilling the need of the hour are far more important than what money can buy. Care and concern, social connection, being valued, adding value, feeling valuable: all of this is the new currency.

The “us and them” mentality must surely wither and die. There are no sides, there is just one. Sounds zen? Not really. It is more like a return to the human values that preceded the mad rush of the last 40 years.

Now there is a pause.

Giving back is no longer a ‘thing’, because we can now see and realise that it has not been taken away in the first case. Taxes were a curse, now they are the means by which we are provided for in these difficult times. Earlier we felt the government created rules to control, now we understand that they implement guidelines to keep us safe in times of trial and peace.

A true mental shift.

If I put something in my right pocket and then shift it to my left pocket, it is still in my possession, and so it is with our world today. What we share with the government is what we need to give to ensure that things run smoothly. What we give to others is to help where there are insufficient resources to go around.

It is still ours.

We just moved it from one part of us to another. Charity is another word for love. We give because we love. We give because we have been loved. Most of us claim that we made our own way in this world.

Not really.

Many were the times that others helped us, gave us a lift, carried us through a difficult moment, supported us with kind words, helpful deeds and sometimes a few dollars here and there. We must remember this and perpetuate it, ad infinitum. Governments are us. They are the people that we support to help organise our lives and keep our society together.

Businesses are us. They are the people that we work and collaborate with to produce the resources that support our lives. Whether it’s the owner, the manager or the front-line team member, the business is us. It exists because of us and for us. The first duty of the business is to care for all its people, without discrimination. That includes its customers and its community, wherever they may be.

I have no praise for those who have opportunistically taken mean steps towards their employees. This is the time to reach out and support them.

Will it break you? That’s okay. Be broken. Your employees have poured themselves out for the companies that they work for. They give and commit. They work hard. Sometimes they fail, sometimes they don’t live up to expectations, but that is not the majority. And now it is time for the company to care for these people. They created the goodwill and generated the love. Even if the company goes broke now in its efforts to care for its people, these same people will help rebuild something even greater in the future. But what will it do without these people? Nothing.

There are corporations that announce their donations and contributions to charities long before they have equitable conditions for all of their people. What if your own employees cannot afford to live well and yet your company donates to third parties? Isn’t the person that commits themselves to the organisation also supposed to benefit? Corporations are made up of people, and all of them are employees. All of them. A CEO is an employee.

It is high time that everyone remembered that there are no little people in a company. It would be interesting to see if managers could operate a company without any front-line employees. But I wonder how the reverse would work out? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

In reality, there is no giving back; there is only sharing.

Customers pay for products and services and the companies help the people that work in them to live and prosper. These employees in turn buy products and services, and so everything becomes intermingled and indistinguishable in a constant cycle.

Individuals are us, you and me. As the requirement for medical help rises, and the need for empathy, sympathy, and a greater love for one another arises, so too must people respond and do their part by following and contributing in whatever way they can.

Utopia? Perhaps, perhaps not.

But ‘giving back’ and CSR are crucial for governments, businesses and individuals in the region because we are taking care of ourselves and every person that lives in this world.

We give back, for in doing so, we give to ourselves.

The reality is that we are all one.

Mark Dickinson is a trainer at Gulf Business Academy

 

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