People, Planet, Profit …. the well-known “3P’s” when speaking about corporate social responsibility. When it comes to understanding what is meant by these words,  everyone understands what’s meant by Profit – no explanation necessary there! Planet, lends itself to aspects which are measurable – water and energy consumption, waste disposal, pesticide/fertilizer usage – so that can be set up and monitored relatively easily.

But, People …… aah, the “soft” part. There’s where responsible business practice becomes costly, inconvenient, awkward, troublesome – people can be so “difficult”, can’t they? Maybe…. but it’s also people who are resilient, resourceful, loyal, problem-solvers – who contribute their skills, know-how and creativity to the company and its goals.  

We often treat employees as if they’re a pair of hands, feet and a head – we simply tell employees what they have to do, pay them a fair wage and that’s that. But is it? Implementing and integrating Responsible Business Practice into everyday operations requires change and most people don’t like change. Therefore, to ensure success of the change strategy – your people need to be on board. Your people are the ones doing the work, they’re the ones who’ll carry out the procedures drawn up and instructions given. Include them – right from the start! Communicate about what it is you’re trying to achieve, set up work groups to promote their involvement and obtain their ideas. Nobody knows better where improvements are possible, where things could be done differently than the people doing the work – listen to them. People are remarkably resourceful and creative and capable of finding solutions – don’t overlook that. The more your people “own” the “new” way of working, the greater its success will be. 

And remember, although the competition can copy your product or service, they can never copy the skills, know-how, commitment and loyalty of your people. A product or service is never better than the people developing, making or delivering it – invest in your people! They’re worth it.