The Changing Interaction Between Businesses and Society

Jun 24, 2019 1 Min Read
Corporate citizenship

Millennials currently make up more than half of the workforce in many countries, and a report by EY estimated that by 2025, they will comprise 75 per cent of the global workforce. This cohort tends to prioritise more than just the financial bottom line and hold organisations to high standards of social responsibility.

In fact, according to a report by Deloitte Insights, a 2017 study found that “millennials are becoming increasingly sensitive to how their organizations address issues such as income inequality, hunger, and the environment. Eighty-eight percent of millennials believe that employers should play a vital role in alleviating these concerns, and 86 percent say the business success should be measured by more than profitability.”

Corporate citizenship – which refers to an organisation’s responsibilities toward society – is more important than ever before to attract, engage and retain millennials – and more and more organisations are heeding this call and making changes to their business models, effectively transforming themselves to become more like social enterprises.

According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, a social enterprise is “an organization whose mission combines revenue growth and profitmaking with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network.”

“This includes listening to, investing in, and actively managing the trends that are shaping today’s world. It is an organization that shoulders its responsibility to be a good citizen (both inside and outside the organization), serving as a role model for its peers and promoting a high degree of collaboration at every level of the organization.”

Corporate citizenship is no longer about one-off corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, marketing tactics, or annual programmes led by the human resources department.

It has now become a business strategy that involves the chief executive officer (CEO) of organisations as it defines the organisation’s very identity.

However, while 77 per cent out of the 11,069 global respondents surveyed by Deloitte cited corporate citizenship as important, only 18 per cent said that it was considered a top priority and reflected in their organisation’s strategy – showing that organisations around the world still have a long way to go in achieving true corporate citizenship.    

To do so, the report suggests that organisations need to move beyond fragmented programmes; “CEOs and executive committees should communicate a single, comprehensive, and authentic strategy that defines who the company is, what it says, and what it does. Then, they should hold organizational leaders accountable for results.”

In today’s digital age where it has become so easy for organisations to be scrutinised by its consumers, investors and employees, businesses leaders need to ask themselves:

What is the impact of my organisation on society?

The answer to that question may very well hold the key to the organisation’s future success.

   

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Christie was previously the deputy editor at Leaderonomics. She prefers to convey her thoughts through the written word and is a stickler for consistency. One of her favourite phrases is “It’s not that far; we can walk there!”

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