More and more organisations are placing social purpose at the heart of their business strategy and it’s easy to see why.
Social purpose isn’t just the right way to do business, researchers have found that it’s also very closely linked to corporate success.
As Larry Finks, the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, has said: “The more your company can show its purpose in delivering value to its customers, its employees and its communities, the better able you will be to compete and deliver long-term, durable profits for shareholders.”
But, given its importance, how do we measure social purpose performance?
While there’s no standard system to quantify it and the positives that come from it, such as customer loyalty, a strong reputation and employee retention can be difficult to assess over time, there are key elements to look out for.
Here are three key areas to consider when thinking about your organisation’s social purpose performance.
1. Benchmark against top-performing organisations
Benchmarks aren’t necessarily clear indicators of success, but they can give you a quick guide as to how your organisation is performing.
Look at the companies that go above and beyond when it comes to their social purpose. Which ones are leading in this field for your sector?
Take IKEA, for example. The furniture giant recently announced details of a new partnership with the entire city of Helsingborg in Sweden with the aim of improving many different aspects of life for its inhabitants.Ikea has also started offering vouchers to UK customers who return unwanted items in an effort to lower waste.
Or HP Inc, the multinational information technology company, is another one to follow. In 2019, they used more than one million pounds of plastic that was destined for the ocean in its products.
And DP World, the world leader in global supply chain solutions, has a network of employees who volunteer in schools across the world to give sessions on global trade, the global supply chain and sustainability, among many other topics.
Top benchmarks can help you lay the groundwork for measuring your organisation’s own social purpose and can help point to areas of success or further opportunities.
2. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure social purpose
Agree some ambitious, but realistic short-term and long-term goals on social purpose for your organisation and make sure there are regular check-ins so that the company sticks to them.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to think carefully about the indicators or variables you are going to use to measure these goals.
How about considering including some of the following performance variables and indicators when it comes to reporting your organisation’s social purpose performance?
- Employee and management perspectives on your organisation’s social purpose
- External recognition of your organisation’s social purpose
- Reach of any social purpose activities – organisations / schools / communities and individuals
- Customer satisfaction
- Waste & recycling
- Efficiency in energy use
- Social policies developed / followed
- Social contribution
- Strategic partners
- Time spent in volunteering
3. Use recognised industry-standard measurements
While there’s no universally accepted way of measuring social purpose, there are industry-standard tools that you can use to help measure your organisation’s performance. These include:
- GRI: The first global standards for sustainability reporting
- SASB: Measures the financial impact of sustainability
- B Corp Certification: The only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance
Why measuring social purpose performance matters
Being able to measure and report on your organisation’s social impact can ultimately attract investors, retain top talent, boost reputation, and boost business performance – alongside several other potential benefits.
Social purpose initiatives are no longer a nice-to-have and have shifted to a vital part of every company. And measuring these efforts is essential. Make today the day you start developing your CSR performance measurement strategy.
Businesses that have a clear corporate social responsibility strategy have a greater impact on their communities and improve their bottom line. EVERFI powers social impact initiatives across the globe for thousands of leading brands, global companies and foundations, by providing measurable, meaningful education programmes that enable organisations to positively impact society.
Get in touch to find out how we can help your organisation drive social purpose.