• Mark Topley

Your community (and your team) need you

At a time like this, it’s easy to think that we simply don’t have time for our Corporate Social Responsibility.

But as uncertain as things are, it’s never been more important to be community-minded.

As a small business owner myself, I understand and appreciate that there are many concerns over how we will get through this period, and I’ve written a few thoughts from my experience here. I’m facing those same challenges myself.

Times of fear, uncertainty and anxiety can drive us to become very self-focused. But the pandemic is absolutely a reason why community engagement and leadership (two key aspects of CSR) have suddenly become more important, not less.

Embracing community action and leading wholeheartedly right now will help us all through a difficult time. But what can you do to resist unhealthy self-focus and make a difference?

It almost goes without saying that following advice on hand-washing, social distancing and sensible buying are foundational. But I’ll say it anyway. Hand-washing, social distancing and sensible buying are foundational.

Contact local groups and offer help

My wife Jo manages the local food bank, and there is already work underway to prepare for a huge spike in need. The double whammy of greater need and more pressure on the people that meet the need (many of her volunteers are retired and 70+) is a common scenario for groups that care for the vulnerable. And so contacting groups in your area to see how you can help is a good first step. It may be that you have a slower period coming up with fewer patients or customers, so why not use that time to support groups for the vulnerable?

Offer support

This is a great example of something I’ve seen in a number of locations. Practices and businesses reaching out digitally and through flyers to their communities to offer help where needed.

Lead

Your team need you to lead now more than ever. They are reading the same news and susceptible to the same fears as anyone. So communicating clearly, about the situation, even if you don’t know what’s coming is so important. In situations where there is a lack of clarity, human nature is to go to the worst-case scenario. So show your team that you’re in it together, that you’ll keep them up to speed, and involve them in problem-solving.

And so I am sobered by the gravity of the situation we all face. But I am also resolute about tackling it head-on, and making sure that when this passes, which it will, I and my business have done all we can to make a difference and help our teams and our communities through it.

If you need help or ideas on getting yourself or your team through this time, keep an eye on my Facebook page for a free support resource coming this week.

 

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