Opportunities for Company Q to lead in the area of social responsibility Company Q’s attitude towards social responsibility appears to be nonexistent, possibly through ignorance or disconcert. Either way the lack of social responsibility affects their business and community’s perception of their business. It appears that the company management has never developed and ethics program that clearly defines the corporate culture including provisions for social responsibility. Profits, or at least a lack of losses appears to be a primary motivating factor for company Q’s management’s decisions. Company Q has been attempting to cut losses by closing stores that were losing money instead of finding innovative ways to increase revenues and profitability for the stores. Based on the known information, Company Q still has ample opportunity to build a socially responsible reputation within the community it serves and at the same time create profits for its shareholders.
Simple and cost-effective changes could be implemented in a relatively short amount of time and the benefits to the community, employees and the company itself could be realized within a reasonable amount of time. There are at least three ways that Company Q can make a positive affect within the community that it serves while increasing revenues and profitability for shareholders. First area of improvement: Take those previous customer requests for health conscience and organic products and turn them into reality within their stores. For many years, Company Q’s customers have been requesting health conscience and organic products sold at Company Q’s stores. The company’s efforts to provide this for its customers have been weak at best. The company’s management has the ethical duty to be positively reactive to its customers requests, so long as those requests are not illegal, immoral, irresponsible or unethical.
Since requests are for products that benefit the health of customers, company Q needs to act to deliver those requested products in a manner that is consistent with its goals of profitability. In this case, the company has the ability to show social responsibility in bringing healthier products into its stores and have the added benefit that these items are high-margin, delivering profit opportunities to company shareholders. Because the items are high-margin, the costs of purchasing a reasonable supply and variety of items is relatively low as compared to lower margin items that are most likely currently stocked in each store. The company even has an opportunity to reduce costs in the stores purchases by eliminating similar products that are lower in margin to the ones that they will be bringing in based on customer requests. Promotion of the social responsibility plan is important. With no additional cost in advertising, company Q can promote these new healthy products in its advertising.
Doing so can bring back some of their lost business as well as bring in new customers to the stores. This situation is a win not only for Company Q but is also a win for customers and employees. The additional profits from higher-margin items will assist the company in creating wages that are appropriate for each position and opportunities for advancement in pay and position for its employees. This can help create an atmosphere that retains employees and reduces turnover, consequently, reducing the costs of obtaining and training new employees on a regular basis. Second area of improvement: Donations to local food banks, shelters and other charities Company Q experiences a direct loss of not only the potential profit from but the actual cost of day-old items that are thrown away. In doing so, the company experiences these costs with no benefit to the company.
This method of handling the old items not only costs the company dollars in loss but also does not allow the company to reap the benefits of a socially responsible positive image to its customers and employees. Company Q’s management has taken the approach that by donating the day-old items it leaves the possibility for employees to steal from the company. A thorough plan of documentation for the donation process will help in ensuring that the donations go where they are intended and minimize risk of employee theft. One part of this plan would be to have the food bank pick up the donated items on a daily or weekly basis. As part of the donation process the food bank employee and the store employee would sign an inventory of the items picked up. This inventory tracking could be used by the stores as proof for prospective tax deductible donation on federal and/or state taxes. Any legal reductions in tax liability, improves profitability for the company.
Company Q can benefit with a more socially responsible image to its customers and employees each time the food bank truck pulls up to the store and is being loaded with donated food. Food banks are not the only opportunity to show company philanthropy to the community. Making donations and collecting donations from the community for homeless shelters and other worthy charitable organizations is yet another avenue to show the community that Company Q is active in social responsibility. Shelters and other charitable organizations are in need of items that the stores may not be able to sell to their customers for donation, but when customers and employees bring in donated items such as clothing, personal appliances and possibly furniture, these items could be collected at or near the store and be picked up by these charitable organizations. This gives the store an opportunity to receive business from those that are dropping off donations, by going in to the store and purchasing items that they may need for themselves and do it in one simple trip.
These type of donation events can be listed in their existing advertising and give customers another reason to come by the store. Third area of improvement: Create opportunities for employees as well as customers to share in the charitable activities that promote social responsibility. As part of its change in being more socially responsible, Company Q could directly involve its customers by making donation bins available in stores for customers to purchase items and donate to the food bank. Advertising this in the store is good, but including it in their existing ad campaign could bring in customers that appreciate socially responsible businesses. Not only is this the sale of the items additional revenue for Company Q, but it allows customers to be directly involved in donation, which in turn creates even more goodwill for Company Q.
In addition to customer involvement, employees can be directly involved in developing a socially responsible image of the company. Company Q could organize and promote employees assisting at food bank locations. These employees could go in for one day each month or each quarter and work within the food bank in one of many areas that the food bank needs physical labor for. Company Q could pay the employee’s their regular wages and be may able to take tax deductions for the wages paid to employees while assisting the food bank.
This approach is another win for all parties involved. The food bank wins with donated labor, the employees win by being paid for the time worked at the food bank and Company Q wins by showing social responsibility in its community and gaining goodwill for itself in the process. In conclusion, Company Q can develop an ethics program and implement a plan for social responsibility that helps those within its community and increase its revenue and profits in doing so.