When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), most business executives will tell you that their business sustainability stakeholders play a key role in the process. However when these leaders are asked, "Are these same key business stakeholders actively engaged in the strategic business sustainability planning process and the financial decision-making of the company?" The answer is very seldom the same.
The model of business engagement has traditionally been an almost exclusively one-way discussion. In the past, stakeholder inputs, if any, were considered only behind the closed doors of the executive boardroom. However, the link between stakeholder engagement and business profitability may prove to be a line that bares crossing.
Recent research shows that firms with high employee engagement have 19% higher operating income than their peers. This significant influence, warranting discussion, leads our sustainability consulting to explore this economic relationship further:
• Could the same results be obtained through a broader set of business sustainability stakeholders?
• What impact to profitability could an engaged supply chain bring?
• Would there be a limit to customer growth if engaged in the company offerings?
• Could the same engagement drivers be applied universally, or would a unique and varying set of aligned incentives be required?
Determining the right engagement model can be a challenge; yet, it is a sustainable business reward in the right hands. Our sustainability consulting practice works with clients to build focused business sustainability plans that engage key stakeholders early in the development process. The key is to target aligned business sustainability strategies that add specific value and promote both company and stakeholder success.