Creating a Successful Startup Starting with Social Good

December 17, 2013 Ben Baldwin



Social good is more than just a buzzword in the business community—it's become one of the most effective ways for companies to attract, gain, and retain their industries' top talent today.  Socially responsible business practices go beyond simply hosting a charity event every year or collecting food donations at the office.  Social good means understanding your company's culture, understanding your employees' own social interests, and tying them together so that your company’s brand and your employees’ work experience can come together to contribute to something more than the bottom line.  In essence, it’s being genuine to your employees and living company’s your values.  Being genuine is being socially good. 

Now, I know that you may be thinking that entrepreneurs already have a lot on their plates.  Why should a young company just getting started, with so much on their plates, make social good a priority?  Before you dismiss social good as simply “nice to have” – something that you have no time for – consider it as a way to scale your culture.  Genuinely living your values is social good that scales your culture: it helps attract and retain more people to your motivated little army of employees.  And a strong culture is a true asset because culture trumps strategy. 

From my experience, there are a couple of ways to take advantage of social good: your company’s product or service can create social good, or your company culture can be committed to it regardless of what your company does.  

At ClearFit have found first-hand, that developing a product that’s genuinely committed to making people’ lives better is a fantastic way to keep employees engaged and devoted to our company's success.  Our vision is to help create a world where the right people are in the right jobs, resulting in happier employees, happier families, and more productive organizations.  So, our product team has created a hiring tool that makes it easy for any size of business to find and hire employees who succeed.  Hiring managers of any experience level can make their lives and their employees’ lives better by hiring people who fit. 

We take our value “we put people first” very seriously, but we’re still pretty self aware of our culture, poking fun at ourselves sometimes.  One sub-group of employees calls themselves the “Rainbow Unicorns Herd.”  They’ve planned events like an all-staff lunch where people bring a dish from his/her own culture and share it with the entire company.  The “good” comes from how much genuine effort and attention each person receives. 

So how can you create your own social good?  The first step is to become aware of your culture and the values that are helping to build it.  You may be surprised by how human and “socially good” your values are.  Identify activities or causes that extend your values and fit with your company’s culture.  What are the social touch points you hit with your product or service?  What is near and dear to your team?  The key is to keep it simple and transparent with everyone involved.

To be really successful with these efforts, you also need to remain consistent in your cause.  Whatever you choose to support, find ways throughout the year to integrate the cause into your work and company activities.  Planning team volunteer activities or offering up incentives for time spent helping out is a great way to keep it top of mind and part of your company’s identity. It is amazing what it does for morale, retention and productivity when the whole company rallies together for something outside of our day-to-day work. 

You don't need to save the world in a single day, but your company can make a difference in a number of peoples' lives in so many ways.  If you start early, social good can grow as a core value that provides huge benefits to all involved.  Beyond what you’re doing to make a difference outside of your company, you're also having a positive impact on your employees and the wellbeing of your business. 

About the Author: Ben Baldwin (@BenAtClearFit) is the co-founder and CEO of 48hrs alum ClearFit. Clearfit specifically helps hiring managers and business partners find top candidates and predict their success. These credentials are based on factors such as cultural fit, professional drive, human behaviors, and personal motivations. ClearFit was created to help businesses find and hire the most successful employees. This is because a strong and talented team is absolutely vital to the overall reputation and success of any organization. 






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