Sustainable business growth is a positive development for many reasons. A sustainable approach focuses on the triple bottom line – where financial returns sit equally alongside social and environmental impacts. A sustainable business is one whose primary purpose and actions are equally grounded in environmental, financial, and social concerns. In the current climate, it is a long-term strategy.
But most companies do not have a deep understanding of sustainability and developing business sustainability can be an uncomfortable fit for businesses built on a single, often ruthless, financial-focused bottom line.
This article provides a starting point if you know that you need to think more broadly and get up to speed on how to develop your business in a more sustainable manner.
Develop Your Company Values
Company values are essential in that they guide the actions of an organisation, promote employee engagement, characterise the brand, boost competitive edge, unite the workforce, and ultimately shape company culture, vision, and business strategies. But how do you develop company values?
First, everyone should be involved. While the company’s core values tend to reflect the beliefs and morals of the company leaders, offering opportunities to all employees and consumers to share what’s important to them and working towards a collaboration of shared values is one way to develop a culture-rich workplace. Company values must be fully integrated into the company’s daily operations, hiring process, thought leadership, and all other functions throughout the company. These values must be visible and deeply ingrained into the work culture, including the company’s vision and mission statement.
Company leaders must show commitment to upholding these values by consistently offering updated training and development opportunities to staff, directly reflecting the company values. Moreover, integrating these values in hiring can help encourage new employees to be committed right from the outset.
There is a lot of hard work to be done when developing company values, especially at the start. Any barriers should be identified and must be eliminated from the start. One company that has successfully upheld its company value is the adventure wear company Patagonia. They have been a pioneer in selling ethically made products inspired by nature, and they continue to be vocal about protecting the planet and producing durable clothing that reduces unnecessary waste.
Develop Recruitment Based on Values
Companies are now implementing values-based recruitment to hire people who want more than just a paycheck month after month. These companies prefer candidates who know their purpose and have values similar to them. One way to sustainably develop your business is to implement values-based recruitment.
Values-based recruitment refers to a recruitment process that requires attracting talents based on their behaviours and values that align with the company’s values. Some of these recruitment processes are exclusively values-based, while others consist of a mix of values and competencies. Competencies refer to behaviours that are related to effective job performance. Recruitment specialists, like Lightning Travel Recruitment, work with companies on combining values and competencies to ensure fair, reliable, and objective methods in assessing potential candidates.
A values-based approach to hiring can benefit companies in many ways, such as increasing employee performance, reducing employee turnover, improving morale, and creating a stable work culture. It might seem like a simple task, but sometimes, the strategies could focus on the wrong areas. The focus should be on hiring quality individuals of character and integrity and whose values align with the organisation’s core values and vision. Some of the world’s best companies, including Google, a leading advocate of a values-based approach, are practising a values-based recruitment approach.
Develop Your Brand
Becoming a sustainable brand requires authenticity. You can’t just spread a layer of ethics on top of everything else you do. If customers see through it then all your work will be more than undone. Sustainability needs to run through the organisation like the words run through a stick of rock. Wherever you break it open the message needs to be the same. Organisations need to implement processes at every level and ensure that they all work in harmony to achieve sustainable goals. Infrequent and unplanned efforts for sustainability can only do more harm than good. Developing a sustainable brand is a significant transformation and requires stakeholders at every level to be part of a vision and work towards its implementation.
In order to successfully develop a sustainable brand, effective communication is paramount. It must address investors, stakeholders, and consumers. Organisations have to engage in PR initiatives and advertising campaigns. Getting recognition from industry bodies and acquiring necessary certifications can also help.
To not be accused of greenwashing, organisations must comprehensively implement their sustainability efforts. They can do a phase-by-phase introduction or introduce sustainable initiatives that have a major impact. A sustainable brand should enhance profitability. However, short term implementation of sustainable initiatives can take time to make a difference. Organisations developing a sustainable brand should have strategies to mitigate the initial challenges and remain focused on their paths to sustainability.
Organisations must be open-minded about their sustainability initiatives. Beginning from the idea, its implementation, and the steps taken to transform the brand into something sustainable, the gradual steps and processes towards the end goal are opportunities for organisations to achieve differentiation and strengthen their brand’s equity.
Develop via Automation
All over the world, businesses have started to realize the value of automation. Automation refers to a strategy allowing computers and machines to perform tasks and streamline company workflow. Automating the sales process or using robotics in a warehouse can come with many benefits, the biggest of which is reducing costs and waste.
Automation needs to be checked against your triple-bottom-line objectives. While it is likely to progress your financial and productivity objectives as well as potentially contributing to environmental objectives, automation can have a more complicated relationship with social objectives. As a result, make sure that you involve stakeholders fully in your moves towards automation.
Job losses are a frequent outcome of automation. But at the same time, the company remains competitive and grows. The alternative would be a different type of job loss as the company declines. A thoughtful employer will bring staff with them in this evolution and help them to prepare for alternative roles. Since computers can complete tasks quickly, you don’t need to hire additional staff to carry out tasks but there will be jobs for robotics engineers to maintain the robots. Automation can also save the company a lot of time. A person may need to spend countless hours doing endless jobs that a computer can do on a whim. Remember that having overworked employees can decrease company productivity. But if you let a machine perform tasks on their behalf, they can spend their time doing more important tasks.
To sum it up
A sustainable business does not need to be an uncompetitive business. Building a values-based business, which brings its people and partners with it and combines economic, social, and environmental objectives will result in a business with a long-term strategy. In the 21st century, a sustainable business makes a profit and it also makes a difference.