A socially conscious business is an organization that puts the betterment of people, society, and the planet over profit. It improves your business model and shifts towards being an active participant in social movements. You can make every day World Day of Social Justice if you follow this guide!
1. Establish core values
Instead of considering what will make the most profit, think about why you created your business. What was missing that you are able to provide now? What inspires you? Who do you hope to help? These questions will help you narrow down to one to two main concepts that are your business pillars. They are your business’s reason for being. Focus all your promotional content, social media, and other marketing materials around those pillars to ensure you align your brand with your values.
Then, try to define a specific mission within one to three sentences. This mission statement should be what drives every business decision going forward. Include it on your website to let prospective clients or employees understand your passion. Check out IAW’s podcast Unlimited HERizons for more information on building a mission-driven brand here.
2. Re-evaluate policies
The second step in becoming a more conscious business is adjusting your policies to reflect your new values and mission. Conscious businesses are about creating something beyond yourself and profit. It is not focusing on punishment and correction, but learning and development. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating your business:
- Who are in management positions? Are they women, people of color, people with disabilities, or veterans?
- What policies are discriminating against minorities?
- How can you develop a more equitable hiring process?
- Is there a more eco-friendly way to run your business?
- Are your policies compassionate towards the mental and physical health of your employees?
- Do your rates and salaries match the market prices?
3. Develop conscious leadership skills
Everything about the business begins with you. Developing conscious leadership skills can take time to learn like any other. Luckily, you don’t have to do it on your own. Here are sixteen actionable steps you can take to become an executive who promotes racial and gender equality in the workplace.
4. Invest in your team
People want to work with those who care about their dreams, professional growth, mental health, and work-life balance. They also need a work environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion for all. Continually work towards team bonding activities, training opportunities, and meeting spaces that truly care and invest in every member of the team.
5. Establish spaces for feedback
Becoming a conscious business is a constant process of re-evaluating and adjusting. Policies won’t be perfect the first time and situations change. Dedicate monthly meetings for your clients or employees to give you feedback on the business. They are the ones that engage with it daily and see the problems first-hand. One solution may be to establish committees dedicated to reinforcing the values and mission of the company.
Also, consider hiring a business consultant yearly who can provide an expert outsider opinion on your business’ DEI efforts and policies. They will help you maintain a conscious business model and reveal potential barriers or blind spots. An IAW member, Dr. Monique Johnson, coaches and consults on DEI efforts for schools, organizations, non-profits, and corporations. Learn more about her and her services here.
6. Give back
Show your appreciation for your employees, clients, and local communities by giving back in some way. It can be donating to causes that align with your values or spending a day as a team volunteering. Giving back does not have to be a grand gesture. Sometimes the largest impact is formed over time by daily acts of kindness.
7. Collaborate with other conscious businesses
Just like professional networking, you can create a business network of support as well! Collaborate with other businesses to push past limits, provide resources for each other, and find new ways to support communities. Here is a guide on how to build a supportive network for your business.