How to embed a social value strategy

The UN says that SMEs play an important role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals outlining ways businesses can accelerate change. And with SMEs making up 52% of employment and 61% of turnover of the UK economy they have potential to make considerable impact.

However, there is much to be done for medium-sized businesses to fully embed CSR. And a distinct shift is occurring taking its lead from ESG. Leaders must consider the business’ impact on the world rather than just the activities, they put in place to ‘do good.’ Community action such as volunteering days or charity bake sales traditionally associated with CSR will no longer cut it alone.


create social impact


While CSR often sits with HR or Corporate Communications teams, senior leadership – and those with specialist skills, must now set a direction and make it a collective responsibility for everyone in the business to act upon. By moving to an ESG mindset, crafting then embedding a social value strategy, businesses can better consider their place in the world and the impact they have on it.


five steps to embedding your social impact strategy


To embed a new social impact strategy, you must first design a future culture for the organisation that will allow it to thrive and grow. Consider the behaviours, values and working practices you need to establish to make this a reality by shifting your company culture.

Once you have senior management buy-in, the right structures in place, and have built your social value roadmap, follow these steps to ensure it is set up for success: 

  1. Upskill leaders and managers. The leaders of tomorrow need to run purpose driven businesses. Instil the confidence and knowledge for them to take ownership of the culture change required at the outset.
  2. Roll out training and internal communications. Group training sessions and company or departmental wide communications are essential to ensure the whole business is aware of what is expected and the impact that the new strategy is designed to deliver.
  3. Review all your policies, processes, and systems. It is all very well having a vision and strategy but if the basics are not in place to corroborate this, mixed messaging will lead to internal apathy. A lack of employee engagement will kill any chance of your strategy coming to life. Work with specialists who can advise on best practice, governance, and the legalities of making changes.
  4. Set KPIs and measure impact. Understand what your baseline is. Set clear goals and benchmarks, then put in place all the technology and data management required to measure your success against your KPIs before you begin. When you start measuring your impact, report back to your internal teams before any external communications. Make their input tangible.
  5. Evolve and iterate. Change is the only constant, your social value strategy must adapt as your business, people, industry, and economy does. Engage all your stakeholders, not just your people, to stay ahead of the evolving landscape and take a long-term view of how you can enforce positive change.


how can culture consultancy help?


Culture Consultancy help medium sized businesses define their social value strategy and bring it to life authentically. Our recent thought piece ‘Evolution not revolution: CSR to ESG and back again’ dives into more detail about the new era of CSR and how medium sized businesses can stay ahead of the curve in implementing innovative approaches to responsible business. It includes tips from CSR and culture experts, case studies of companies getting it right and our process to create and embed a successful culture to drive authentic social impact.

Get in touch if you want to discuss how we can help your business educate, engage, empower, and enable your teams to create and drive a new social value strategy.