Business as a force for good
Big and small businesses must be a force for good to really improve society but big businesses need to work harder at this, finds a UK study. Investing in young people can help. Our latest blog takes a closer look.
Public trust in business is low. Businesses must address this urgent trust deficit. This is a key finding from a polling commissioned by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Siemens in the UK.
Other polling results include:
- 79% of people see profitable businesses as important to the community.
- Only 22% think businesses are likely to do the right thing in their community.
- 60% of people think that businesses focus too much on making money and not enough investing in their communities.
“Our economy cannot have economic growth, create jobs and raise incomes without successful businesses. But this means that businesses need to raise their game. They not only need to behave responsibly – paying their taxes, paying decent wages, providing skills training, building local supply chains, contributing to their local communities. They need to be seen to be doing so.”
– Michael Jacobs Director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice
The reason businesses must also ‘be seen to be doing good’, is that we may be starting to see a shift in terms of what our future employees are selecting and deselecting. Giving back to society may have an impact on the talent you attract. The poll results show that just over half of people (54%) are more likely to buy from businesses that behave responsibly, and just less than a third (28%) consider business ethics when looking for a job. Giving back may turn out to be good for business – “doing good and doing well”.
This UK study is relevant for us in South Africa too. We also need to focus on bridging that gap or disconnect between business and society. Ways to give back include buying local goods, investing in research and development, and offering business advice to small business and start-ups. But, perhaps most relevant for HR and the IPM, one of the key ways to give back, is to invest in young people. Providing work placements and apprenticeships ranked in the top five ways of giving back to the community – according to 77% of people.
“Offering young people work placements and apprenticeships as well as providing education, training and skills partnerships were deemed essential for the nation’s companies to positively impact local communities.”
To close the gap between business and society, and provide young people with access to opportunities, we offer an IPM Mentoring Programme. This Programme matches aspirant HR practitioners with experienced leaders in HR. It is intended to enhance personal and professional development, and to open up and expand career networks. We would like this programme to practically address skills gaps and talent shortages through building the talent pipeline for HR and HR Leadership.
Do you want to give back or take part? Register your interest. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org