‘Social value’ and ‘social investment’ have become buzz words within the business world as more and more organisations have a growing awareness that they need defined social, environmental and sustainability goals.

But why is it so important? There’s now societal pressure for businesses to be more transparent, to ‘give back’ by becoming community-focused and invest in meaningful projects which change lives and demonstrate a positive contribution to society and the environment.

Often calculated as a ‘Social Return-on-Investment’ (SROI), social value is generated by businesses funding charitable projects, launching a foundation, organising volunteering projects, partnering with ‘a charity of the year’ and introducing sustainability initiatives.

This is all fine in theory but how do you get colleagues to buy into the idea and for it to become part of the company culture, not just a mission statement?

Together with our client – Impact Reporting, a CSR reporting tool which streamlines the way firms can capture and monitor pro social activity, we’ve developed ten top tips to motivate staff across all business sectors to get involved in generating more social value:

Letting employees choose charities

While having a ‘charity of the year’ is the norm in corporate circles, asking staff to nominate a chosen charity can help make this process more democratic. Allow staff to vote from a list and partner with the winning charity – this will help with engagement.

Developing employee initiatives

Organise lunchtime cycling, weekend volunteering and recycling projects for all to get involved. Open the floor to suggestions, allowing employees to make recommendations that are important to them. The most popular ideas are often the most successful.

Building social value into client contracts

Insist that partner organisations prioritise social value too. This is the norm in public sector contracts and is becoming more familiar across a wider range of sectors. It is a sure-fire way to help organisations stand out in business circles.

Leading from the top

The most successful CSR-focused businesses have CEOs and MDs who are active and committed to a social value mission statement. To show how dedicated a business is to the cause, encourage the CEO/MD to get involved so they become an example for all staff.

Adopting a framework

The time is now to be serious about CSR. Paying lip-service won’t give businesses the desired results. Set real objectives with fixed timeframes, and work towards those.

Aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Benchmark achievements against 17 global goals set by the UN in 2015 to achieve a more sustainable future and address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. These will help drive growth, attract capital and focus on purpose and offers accountability and assessment.

Gamifying the creation of social value

Inspire employees to do more and get competitive about it. For example, set up a leader board and offer prizes as incentives. Motivate employees by appealing to their competitive nature.

Starting with the basics

Transforming a business’s attitude to social value won’t be an over-night process. It’s OK to start small and scale up. Get rid of plastics, put recycling bins in place, ditch cars, use public transport or walk into work.

Listening to stakeholders

Align with the organisation’s mission, vision or values. To truly embed social value into a business, it needs to harmonise. It’s about working towards a culture whereby social impact is created naturally and fluidly.

Working with pro-social companies

Be open to partnering with social enterprises, charities, or other ‘good’ companies at all stages of negotiating contracts. Learn from each other, offer solutions and network with likeminded people. Move forward, together.

As a business we align ourselves to this advice and believe to maximise social impact, it’s essential that pro-social and pro-environmental activities engage and educate colleagues.

Work with your team to push social value further onto your business’s agenda and reap the societal, environmental and financial benefits.