One of the essential duties of an organization is to take care of its employees. Apart from this, every organization also has a commitment towards society, known as Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR! Yes you read that right. Organizations take up initiatives like Healthcare CSR to link their brand with a social endeavor. This enhances their brand value while giving back something to the community.
The ongoing COVID situation has again highlighted that our healthcare system requires support. That is why the CSR programs of organizations are more important than ever.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility is the ethical role of the corporation in society. CSR aims to increase long-term profits and shareholder trust through positive public relations. The idea is to achieve high moral standards by taking responsibility for corporate actions.
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There is no "right" way a company can practice CSR. CSR initiatives strive to positively contribute to the public, the economy or the environment. And in the era of digital boom, it is becoming increasingly important for every organization to have a socially conscious image.
Why is Corporate Social Responsibility Important?
In India, Education and skill development get the highest share of CSR funds, with healthcare in the second place. CSR is gaining popularity with organizations seeking to move away from traditional notions and accept responsibility for the community as a stakeholder. Similar trend can be seen everywhere in the world as well.
An ideal implementation of CSR can bring along a wide range of competitive benefits-
Improved public image.
Consumers usually assess the public image before getting involved with the business. Employees volunteering for a few hours a week at a charity show the commitment of the brand to help others. As a result, it will appear much more favorable for the public to associate themselves with the organization.
Increased recognition and brand awareness.
If an organization is committed to ethical practices, the news will spread. In today’s day and age of social media and the fast internet, it takes no time for things to sensationalize. More people will learn about the brand, which will increase brand awareness and recognition. The company culture is enhanced through high moral standards from CSR.
CSR activities directed at creating positive community relations can result in cost reductions. A Positive community relationship can contribute to tax advantages for the organization and reduce the amount of regulation imposed by authority. It will be perceived as a valuable addition to society.
An edge over competitors
By embracing CSR, organizations will stand out from competitors in the industry. Considering social, ethical, and environmental factors helps the organization establish itself as a company committed to going one step further.
Increased Engagement from Consumers
Organizations involved in CSR activities must vocalize every effort towards helping society. They can post it on social media channels and create a story out of such actions. It will be even great if the local media outlets give coverage to such good work. It will be enticing for the consumers, and they will engage with the brand and its operations.
Greater Employee Engagement
Like customer engagement, it is also vital to ensure that the employees know about the CSR strategies of their organization. Employees usually enjoy working for a company that has a better public image than one that doesn’t. An organization that works on subjects like human rights, is much more likely to attract and keep the top employees.
More benefits for employees
There is also a wide range of benefits for the employees when the organization embraces CSR. The workplace will have a more positive and productive work environment. Promoting things like volunteering and charity encourages personal and professional growth. The job satisfaction of such employees will be more compared to those involved in a company with no CSR.
Where do Healthcare CSR activities stand in 2021?
Healthcare activities have emerged as the most crucial CSR activity in current times. With the world menacing over the stubborn covid pandemic and the ever-increasing environmental concerns, it is hard to disagree with the statement.
The lack of safety equipment has affected the healthcare sector during the pandemic. The help of any sort in these testing times is appreciable, and that is why the role of organizations is vital. They can contribute to this global fight by supporting the health infrastructure and wellbeing of the public.
Similarly, environmental concerns are a genuine threat in our world. UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2020 says that carbon emissions are increasing every day. In the name of development, deforestation and chemical wastes disturb our environment.
Organizations should set the proper standards with an uncompromising attitude of sustainability. And in return, they can reach greater heights in their market domain and brand value. It’s an excellent opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the public. Organizations should seize these opportunities to involve their businesses with social responsibility.
Preventive Healthcare and CSR
Preventive healthcare is an important dimension of health which requires significant attention and investment from all sections of the society. In India it is a national health priority and a notified area under Schedule VII of the CSR Section 135 of the Companies Act.
Preventive healthcare enhances health and promote equity by benefiting mostly the disadvantaged and marginalized groups. It covers range of public health activities focused on prevention of diseases, promotion of good health and strengthening of health systems. To encourage CSR activities in Preventive Healthcare , authorities look to provide tax benefits.
Some Healthcare CSR Activities to Incorporate
Before deciding on the CSR activities, every organization must assess the budget. They must get the trust of all the stakeholders involved too.
Following are some of the most practical ways to incorporate Healthcare CSR activities-
Comprehensive Healthcare facilities to Poor People
Arrange free checkups, diagnostics, and mobile ambulance facilities. Sponsor treatments for people from deprived sections of society. Collaborate with local NGOs and the government to provide services smoothly.
Provide Essential COVID Care
In the current situation of the COVID-19, there is an acute shortage of safety equipment. Provide masks and PPE kits free of cost to the frontline and emergency workers.
Assist the government and NGOs in vaccinating people from marginalized backgrounds. Distribute food and essential groceries for people below the poverty line.
Special arrangements for People with disabilities
Most workplaces and public services are not friendly to people with disabilities. Those people need our support. Organizations can promote disability-friendly workplaces and provide assistive devices to those people.
Mental Health Counselling sessions
Mental health plays a significant part in today’s world. And to say the least, it is also one of the most neglected aspects of our society. Organize counseling sessions for the local community. Make them aware of the signs they must not ignore. It could go a long way to diminish the taboo around this subject.
Sex Education Programs in Community schools
Ask your employees to volunteer for Sex Education awareness campaigns. Reward the participating employees with extra incentives.
Sex education at a tender age is very vital. There are several instances of sexual abuse with children in our society. Focus on the grassroots to ensure that the kids get the right moral values. Any organization can arrange for such events with the smallest of budgets.
Drug Abuse Awareness Drives
Drug abuse is a major issue that has crippled our society for a long time. Both individual and institutional support can make a difference in addressing this epidemic.
Arrange for a community screening of some awareness documentaries. Finance for the free rehab programs of people who are facing drug addiction.
Arrange annual plantation drives and encourage employees to plant saplings. Try to incorporate the task in the wellness platform and make a leaderboard for the action. Incentivize those employees who stand out by giving them gift cards or coupons. World Environment Day (June 5) could be the best time for such an initiative.
Street Animal Welfare Activities
Several urban animals like dogs and cats need attention due to lack of food and are disease-prone. Arrange initiatives for their welfare, rehabilitation, and treatment. Collaborate with the local animal welfare organizations to get more effective outcomes.
To feed a stray dog, the most loyal friend of a human is one of the examples of appreciating loyalty. It is a great principle in work culture.
Organizations can show corporate social responsibility (CSR) in many ways. Donations to charities, volunteering, sustainable environmental actions are some of the examples. CSR sends the message that it recognizes social responsibilities and influences it for good.
Every ambitious organization looks at CSR as a worthy investment. Perhaps the long-term positive impact on business, employee retention, and legacy is too good a deal to let go.