For most companies, everything is about the bottom line. Success is measured in terms of meeting financial and production goals. This is true for every industry from construction to mining to manufacturing. It is one of the reasons for continued investment in technology and other resources.
The reality, however, is that most disruption and revenue loss for corporates have its roots at community and social level. Large companies are important to the communities in which they operate. They sometimes supply a hefty percentage of employment in the area. They often become an important aspect of daily life on an economic and social level. When communities feel let down by their employers, the result is often social instability in the form of protests and strikes. This can lead to halted operations and loss of revenue.
Therefore, investment in the local community should be just as important to companies as buying a new machine to increase production. By developing healthy communication and giving back to the community companies create social benefits and improve relations. However, they benefit themselves by ensuring a sustainable environment where their business can continue to thrive.
These are just 4 ways in which a business can engage with communities to develop healthy and sustainable relationships:
- Keep communities consistently up to date
Regular communication is key when it comes to building trusted relationships with local communities. Being consistent builds trust. It ensures that the community is always aware of decisions that affect them. Communication is not a one-way street. It should create channels for corporates to provide information and for communities to give feedback when necessary. The language for communication should be kept simple: not ‘dumbed down,’ but rather, easily understandable so there is no room for confusion.
- Involve the community in decisions that affect them
Many companies make decisions about community engagement in the boardroom with little or no appreciation of the actual needs of the community in question. Developing processes that involve communities in key decisions that affect them is essential, so that any concerns can be properly addressed. Implementing community forums that involve communities in the decision-making process creates a space where feedback can be given, problems can be better understood and trust can be built.
- Know the community leaders
Developing healthy relationships with community leaders go a long way to improving communication and building trust. These leaders play an important role in the community. Engaging their support makes it easier for companies to open channels of communication. Getting to know the community leaders – both formal and informal – also helps corporates to gain a deeper understanding of the social dynamics, culture, needs and expectations that affect their community involvement strategy and decision-making processes.
- Invest in sustainable community upliftment
Many companies make donations such as sponsoring sports teams or providing resources such as food as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. These types of donations, however welcome, are not sustainable and often don’t address ongoing community needs. Corporates should listen to community feedback and develop initiatives that benefit the community in the long-term – such as investing in job creation, healthcare or providing core learning and literacy skills development through a programme as provided by Stimulus Maksima!
One of the key aspects of education that many school going children are not provided with is learning how to learn. Developing reading and mathematical literacy skills are the basis of all further education and training. It is essential for learners to reach their true potential at school and later in the workplace. Stimulus Maksima! provides a computer aided learning system that teaches these core literacy skills. The system can be used to develop skills at schools. It can also provide literacy to adults in a corporate or industrial environment. By becoming a Stimulus Maksima! corporate social investment partner, corporates can invest in community upliftment in a way that has immense long-term benefits and is truly sustainable and continuously measurable.
To find out more about our programme and how to become a Stimulus Maksima! corporate social investment partner, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.