Investors, consumers, and stakeholders are increasingly choosing to collaborate with and conduct business with socially responsible brands. Whether they’re buying union hats for their staff or partnering with businesses that use sustainable practices, it’s clear that business owners are taking strides towards responsible decisions.

Moreover, it has also become common practice for businesses of all sizes to be held accountable when it comes to effecting social change with their profits, business values, and practices. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has, therefore, become a top priority for brands and businesses of all sizes.

Studies have shown that socially conscious businesses not only provide sustainable business models that help them thrive, but also create a positive work environment that ensures employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and richer partnerships. It’s also important to note that being socially conscious can help you attract top talent since employees are increasingly choosing to work for companies that are committed to giving back to the community.

According to a recent survey, 87% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a brand that advocates for an issue they care about. The survey also found that 63% of consumers hope that brands will be at the frontline driving social change without enforcement from the government. In short, making your business socially responsible will positively impact your bottom line even as you improve your community. Here’s what you need to do to make social consciousness part of your brand’s identity.

Start by Establishing a Social Responsibility Mission

Chances are you already have a mission and vision statement for your business. But do you have a social mission that emphasizes how your brand will actively seek to build lasting relationships with the community? The first thing you should do is to make social responsibility part of your business values.

Your social mission should shape the everyday choices and decisions made by your management team as well as your employees. It should be simple, clear, and realistic, otherwise, you won’t be able to create an effective strategy around it. You also want to make sure your team can understand and identify with it. As such, focus on efforts that promote transparency and teamwork among your employees.

Establish Goals that are Attainable and Can be Measured

Think about the specific goals you want to accomplish with your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. One of the reasons most CSR programs fail is because they lack authenticity. And this can be attributed to unrealistic goals and, in some cases, an overly generic social responsibility mission.

Make sure your goals are attainable and can be measured. Instead of trying to “end world hunger,” focus on “ending hunger for vulnerable groups in your local community.” Your goals should aim at providing solutions to issues within your community using the resources your company already has. This is the only way you can measure your impact and determine whether or not you’re moving in the right direction.

Make Sure Your Employees Identify with Your Social Mission

Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives will be effective only when everyone on your team understands and identifies with your social mission. Your entire workforce should own the mission and promote the same message for consumers to receive and respond well to your programs. It’s, therefore, crucial that you involve and inform your team every step of the way.

Make sure everyone understands the specific issues you want to address, why you’re doing it, and what’s expected of each one of them. They also need to understand how you’re going to solve those issues. Take time to listen to their concerns and answer their questions during meetings. Ensuring your entire workforce identifies with your social mission can foster a positive workplace culture, helping you to retain and recruit future talent.

Improve Your Business from Inside Out

Employees who feel appreciated, trusted, and valued for their unique contributions and hard work report increased job satisfaction and perform better at work. It has also been shown that appreciated and valued employees are far more likely to be committed to the company values than those who don’t feel valued.

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to not only foster a productive company culture but also share-and-live your business’ values. You need your entire team to uphold your company values if you want to truly establish a socially-conscious business.

Remember social consciousness starts from within.

Partner with Local Initiatives

When partnering with other local businesses and organizations you’re not only building a stronger community but also improving the local economy. Furthermore, it’s a great opportunity to learn from other organizations and discover other ways your business can become more socially conscious.

You can find these opportunities through your networking groups, business associations, or by asking your friends or neighbors. You might also want to check with your local Chamber of Commerce. Collaborating with other local initiatives can help you get more funding and gain a reputation for giving back. Remember you also get an opportunity to have a bigger impact in your community than you would on your own.

Implement Sustainable Change

Creating a socially-conscious business isn’t just about what you do after making money. Being socially conscious is about creating long-term, sustainable change in your community. As such, you want to think of it as an ongoing effort and keep it in mind in your day-to-day business operations.