Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can have many benefits for dental practices such as increasing staff teamwork, engaging with the local community and building the business’ reputation. However, not many people know how to, firstly, set about putting a CSR policy in place, and, secondly, how to ensure it is effective.
CSR – a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates – can sometimes feel like something that only big businesses have the time and resource to do properly.
But, by following a simple process, dental practices, regardless of size, can also establish a CSR policy and reap the rewards it can bring. Apart from the obvious benefit of doing good and helping a charity, CSR can have some real business benefits.
In a recent BoDcast with Mark Topley, former CEO of dental charity Bridge2Aid, he told us that these benefits can include a 50% reduction in staff turnover and a 20% increase in revenue – when CSR is done properly.
Below, is some advice based on our interview with Mark, about how to get started with CSR and make it a success:
- Envision – spend some time thinking about where you want to be as a business and what values are important to you as a practice.
- Evaluate – analyse where you are currently as a business, the ways you act now in accordance with those values and what it may take to reach the place you want to be.
- Engage – involve your team in the process from the get-go and ask for their input into how you could achieve your vision together. To make your CSR a success it needs to be embedded as an integral part of your practice’s culture. Part of this will be selecting the right charity – this should be something that is a good fit with the business, rather than a personal cause of yours, so everyone (including patients) can genuinely connect to the charity and get behind your efforts.
- Execute – once you’ve chosen the charity you want to support, you must make a plan about the activities you will engage in. Bear in mind, this won’t always be fundraising, for example, it could be that you decide to partner with a local charity to provide dental treatment to homeless people in your community. Choose someone in your team who will become your CSR Champion, who will be responsible for ensuring the plan is carried out and will manage it properly.
- Enthuse – if your team is excited about your CSR goals and activities it will be much easier to ensure it is a success. One way of instilling excitement about your CSR plan is to treat it as a target you’re working towards, a ‘KPI for doing good’. If you’ve engaged and involved your staff from the start, this will also help them to be genuinely enthusiastic and happy to invest time and effort in your charitable activities.
These five steps can help you begin on your CSR journey, and there is further advice and information about how it can benefit your practice in Mark’s BoDcast.
CSR is also something we believe in at Practice Plan. We have our own CSR team who manage regular fundraising activities and recently, we have sponsored a 960-mile bike ride that will be undertaken in September by five dental consultants; our own Les Jones, plus Sheila Scott, Ashley Latter, Simon Tucker and Chris Barrow. The group are aiming to raise £50,000 for Bridge2Aid, BrushUpUK and Cancer Research UK by cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. You can find out more and/or sponsor them.