Integrating Community Involvement into your core business: How to work with Operations, Marketing, and HR

If you want to achieve leadership for your company’s Community Involvement activities, it is critical to integrate Community Involvement into all parts of your business.

We will cover this from three perspectives, applicable to almost any business:

–        The operational side: the part of your business that manufactures, produces, refines; also taking into consideration operation sites where your offices have lots of employees;  

–        When marketing and selling your products or services: how to bring excellent Community Involvement into cause-related marketing or sponsorship programs; and,  

–        For your employees: Where Community Involvement can play a part in building pride and identification with the company, in recruiting and in training people.

All three business areas are where professional Community Involvement can deliver excellent business and societal benefit. Missed out on, it’s an opportunity lost. Done badly, it can bring considerable damage to reputation and brand image.

Integrating Community Involvement into these areas is a way to help your company stand out from the pack and really define its own societal personality. All three areas will be covered in detail, including examples of best practice from a number of leading companies. The appendix to this chapter summarizes key elements to consider for all three business areas.

There are a number of steps to follow in engaging your colleagues from these business areas. Your overall objective should be the ringing endorsement of your CEO or business area director. This is crucial, and not having it will come back to haunt you. Get this and the engagement in that business area by:

1.    Identifying stakeholder or community-related issues a particular business area needs to address.

2.    Also consider what opportunities Community Involvement initiatives may add to the business.

3.    Brainstorm possible community solutions that could help the business area based on what you have found out.

4.    Once prepared, engage your colleagues from the target business area. Get a mandate from a senior manager to work on the project.

5.    With a ‘licence’ from them to get involved, only then start to engage and work with the business.

6.    Even if engaged at the start, secure senior management buy-in before your initiative goes live, and especially before critical development points in your project are reached.