Consumers increasingly expect businesses to do more than simply turn a profit; they want to see them have a positive impact on society and the planet. With a company’s sustainability practices and environmental stewardship becoming factors that determine purchasing decisions, incorporating the concept of “impact beyond profit” into their business models is a key imperative for organizations looking to thrive in the long run.
Here, 15 Forbes Coaches Council members share strategies organizations can adopt to seamlessly integrate social and environmental impact into their core business practices. The practical steps outlined below can help businesses not only continue to grow and succeed financially, but also contribute positively to their broader community and environment.
1. Reward Behaviors That Support Key Virtues
What gets rewarded gets repeated. If, for example, “social conscience” is a key virtue, reward behaviors that support that ideal. Remember that you should hire, fire, train and promote in alignment with the company’s core values. If the “impact beyond profit” imperative is not codified into the organizational core values, leadership cannot expect individuals to understand what is required. – Antonio Garrido, My Daily Leadership
2. Don’t Create Offerings Just For Revenue
Building a company that creates impact beyond profit comes from creating programs and products that solve problems for your ideal client, rather than creating them out of a need for revenue. – Arash Vossoughi, Voss Coaching Co.
3. Embrace Experimentation
Organizations that embrace experimentation foster more creativity, empowerment and risk-taking among their workforce to optimize toward “impact beyond profit.” Employees want to feel enabled and know that their roles tie closely to the company’s core mission. Promoting a culture where one can experiment, try new things and learn from those experiences drives greater impact and enterprise value. – Tiffany Uman, Tiffany Uman Career Strategy Coach Services Inc.
4. Uncover Your Authentic ‘Why’
Organizations may need to begin with some organizational soul-searching! Exploring and uncovering the authentic “why” that adds meaning and purpose to a business is an exciting and important endeavor, but it’s a process that’s not to be taken lightly. Make it inclusive, engage all the key stakeholders (customers, employees and leaders) and prepare to revisit the foundational vision and values. – Lori Bartle, Cultivagency
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
5. Build A Foundation Of Authenticity And Values
To genuinely embed “impact beyond profit,” organizations should align with core values, pursue positive impact beyond mere optics, engage stakeholders and uphold transparent reporting. This commitment deepens trust, bolsters brand loyalty and ensures lasting sustainability. – Jessica Hill Holm, Hill Holm Coaching & Consulting
6. Do More Than Mention ESG On Earnings Calls
Do more than mention environmental, social and governance on your earnings calls. Choose a part of your community that could benefit from your company’s and employees’ donations of time and money; encourage people to donate and give them the time to do it. Track the difference you’re making and “walk your talk.” – Gregg Ward, MCEC BCC, The Center for Respectful Leadership
7. Set Clear Sustainability Goals
By aligning initiatives with their values, allocating funds and engaging stakeholders, organizations can set clear sustainability goals that align with their objectives. Collaborating with like-minded entities and measuring impact are key steps that demonstrate a commitment to societal and environmental well-being, ultimately enhancing reputation and long-term success. – Foluso Gbadamosi, FolusoGbadamosi.com
8. Implement Your Purpose
Doing good is good for business. Purpose engages and inspires employees, builds brand and customer loyalty, and attracts new business. Organizations that have successfully implemented their purpose do not have a purpose—they are their purpose. Purpose must be institutionalized, operationalized and contextualized to be effective. Risks and challenges may be substantial, but the rewards are huge. – Edyta Pacuk, MarchFifteen Consulting Inc.
9. Allocate Profits Strategically
Companies that thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic understood strategic allocation of profits: a percentage put in cash reserve (12-plus months), a percentage dedicated to capacity building, a percentage dedicated to value building and a percentage dedicated to sharing. Sharing includes employee benefits, profit sharing and charitable endeavors. Agility in business is the greatest impact of leveraging profits. – Sherre DeMao, BizGrowth Inc
10. Commit To Reporting Your Progress
Committing to reporting your progress on impact through a simple framework, such as IRIS metrics, is a good starting point. Identify the sustainable development goals for the business and adopt a tangible framework to implement. Reporting brings accountability. If you start reporting, it means you start measuring, and further, it means that you start implementing. This is a good way to incorporate “impact beyond profit.” – Shruti Parashar, GOALisB
11. Incorporate Meaningful Company Endeavors
The impact can be achieved in many ways that are felt both internally within the organization and externally with different stakeholders. Thus, incorporate meaningful company endeavors at every touch point with staff and other stakeholders that create a forward ripple effect to at least one other person, team or entity. Building this into the DNA of a business ensures true, sustainable impact is achieved. – Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory
12. Create Meaningful, Value-Aligned Work
There is compelling evidence that a growing number of employees, especially Gen-Zers and younger Millennials, are deeply concerned with values alignment. They want to be engaged in meaningful work for organizations they respect. Since we also know that retaining committed employees over time offers major cost savings, impact and profit may be more closely linked than once assumed. – Carol Geffner, CB Vision LLC.
13. Focus On How Community Impact Benefits Teams
Think about how having an impact in the community can also benefit your team’s sense of purpose and the company’s overall mission. For example, a toy company can give away free toys while encouraging the community to make a gift. A marketing company can support small startups in the area and encourage their established clientele to offer mentorship or participate in some way. It must always be a win-win. – Michelle Rockwood, Unscripted Sales
14. Pair Growth KPIs With Impact Metrics
Savvy executives are pivoting from pure profit to profit plus impact. The key? Introducing growth key performance indicators paired with impact metrics. And the golden move? Co-creating joint ventures and initiatives with communities and impact stakeholders. It’s not just about the bottom line anymore; it’s about weaving societal good into the very fabric of business strategy. – Svetlana Dimovski, PhD, ICF-PCC, NBC-HWC, Dharma Growth, LLC
15. Establish Quantifiable Targets
Establish a set of quantifiable social and environmental targets in addition to your financial milestones. Embrace a triple bottom line approach, making people, planet and profit the pillars of your business decisions. Form collaborations with non-governmental organizations and government agencies. Cultivate employee participation in your initiatives to boost morale and attract customers who value corporate responsibility. – Lital Marom, LITAL MAROM
Read the full article here