Let’s eVALUEte our behaviour a bit during the first phase of the pandemic
In addition to changing our daily rhythm of life and turning it upside down for most of us, the #COVID-19 #pandemic also allows us to make insights about how we behave as individuals and society in the troublesome time.
At the individual level, the first thing that comes to our mind is health. We are more concerned about our family and friends wellbeing. New challenges may appear for many of us, e.g. if we are working remotely for the first time. That is for sure. However, many of us can also benefit from staying at home because we spend more time with our family members. Think about it. Can it add any #value to our daily activities?
At the business level, the lockdown of entire cities and supply chains standstill triggers many different concerns about what the coming months will bring and questions future companies' profits. Or, on the contrary, can it open new horizons and turn out to be a successful future?
For now one thing is certain, we are now observing that large and small companies, non-profit organizations and individual citizens are uniting and taking various actions to support others. These recent events also show how different these companies are in their approach.
While small and micro companies reacted spontaneously and rearranged their daily activities immediately, the large ones presented a more complex approach and were more oriented towards building mechanisms ensuring protection of their business functions and their employees in the first place. There is no right or wrong approach, it is just different.
From a Polish perspective it was individuals, NGO’s and micro enterprises that have started grass-roots initiatives that are currently supported and introduced on a larger scale by big companies. It started with healthcare. Due to the shortage shortages of medical supplies in Poland, you can see people at their homes all around Poland sewing hygiene masks for doctors and nurses. It is spreading and is contagious in a good way. Restaurants and bars prepare meals for hospitals. Initiatives such as #WzywamyPosilki (we all for supplies), #WidzialnaReka (visible hand) #MaseczkiDlaKrakowskichMedykow (hygienic mask for medics) are engaging more and more Poles. Volunteers help out senior neighbours in shopping or walking out their dogs, so they can #StayAtHome. Even artists follow this new habit by singing via social media to boost peoples morale. Now large companies are joining and taking the initiative, ensuring the supply of necessary goods for hospitals, donating money for respiratory equipment. They support start-up companies looking for vaccines against the virus, changing production lines from windshield washer fluid to producing hand sanitizers or simply by donating their groceries.
Some may say this is just a new way of promoting business and gaining a competitive advantage. Well, we will soon see if it is solidarity in the fight against the invisible or just marketing to get more followers.
When we get to the end of the pandemic and it is time to run business as usual again, companies will have to face new questions: how to build, maintain or reorganize their business. These small and micro ones may face even more challenges. NGO’s may also need help to stay on their track. In addition to potential government tools that can be implemented, e.g. tax payments delayed, low-interest loans, or a ban on mass layoffs, there will still be a need for #SocialSolidarity, and space for real involvement and collaboration.
Maybe the time has come to switch sides: it is time for big companies to support those small businesses and NGO’s in their local areas? Maybe this is a good moment for many companies to put in place #CorporateSocialResponsibility programs and implement social innovation strategies that can provide a positive impact on society? Maybe this is a good moment to add #value to the business for good? In the sense of ‘doing well by doing good’.
In the coming months we will see which path social responsibility will take. Will the pandemic redefine what social responsibility is. Because after all #CorporateSharedValue is about creating value. Let’s focus on creating economic value that adds value to the society.