Our times have changed, and so have our companies. Our customers are socially responsible in their daily lives, and they want the companies they deal with to be just as accountable.
The realm of real estate is maybe not the first industry you think of when it comes to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We, as real estate firms, are, however, meshing environmental and social concerns into the operations of our businesses and customer communications.
Let’s start with a definition
According to Investopedia, “social responsibility means that businesses, in addition to maximizing shareholder value, must act in a manner that benefits society.”
Social responsibility is constructed on a policy of ethics; the decisions and actions have to be ethically justified before being put into motion. These decisions, at a minimum, must not be harmful to the environment or society. In actuality, customers prefer that the company’s operations obviously benefit the community in some way.
In the simplest terms, the primary purpose of being socially responsible is to give back to the surrounding community.
Four Areas of Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR extends to the practices of your employees, clients, and local communities. The areas impacted can include the environment and human rights. So, how do you demonstrate that your real estate firm is being socially responsible?
First, make sure you are ethically treating your employees, vendors, and home-buyers. You are following fair labor practices and not discriminating based on gender, race, or religion. You are providing equal pay for equal work and offering benefits to all employees.
Employee performance and job satisfaction have a direct correlation to how well a company is compensating and supporting their staff. Your home-buyers recognize and want to do business with a happy realty specialist.
Are you donating time, money, and resources to worthy causes? Provide your real estate agents with opportunities to demonstrate their social responsibility. Roost Real Estate is proud of its commitment to Habitat for Humanity. Their realty specialists regularly volunteer at Habitat building sites to give back to their local community.
Environmental social responsibility is a company’s duty to refrain from damaging the natural environment.
One way to demonstrate a commitment to being environmentally responsible is to point out the green living options that may be available in the properties you present. These options could include such features as being decorated with plant-based paint, built with recycled building materials, or having on-site composting available.
Have you incorporated energy and water-saving devices into your offices? Do you offer clients the choice of paper brochures or providing them with links to electronic documents? If you have incorporated items like this into your own real estate business, make sure your clients are aware that you walk the talk.
Grow your business while benefitting society, and you have nailed economic social responsibility. Act on the other areas above, and this one should be a logical outcome.
Customers want to purchase a product or service from a company practicing CSR. When doing so, they feel as if they are doing their part as well to be socially responsible.
Benefits of Being a Socially Responsible Realty Company
Attracting and retaining top talent
Customers are not the only people looking for social responsibility in their companies. The current labor force is also drawn to employers where they can make an impact.
Employees identify with companies they perceive as ethical and are willing to work harder in those positions. A job that embodies social responsibility may be the motivation an employee needs to stay longer as well. Less turnover means decreased recruitment and training costs.
Customers make brand choices based on the company’s values. In today’s market, customers are more socially responsible than ever, and they want the companies they work with to reflect that as well.
It’s the reason people purchase certain cars or clothing or homes. They want what they drive and wear and live in to be a reflection of their personal values. The companies they do business with need to show off those ideals as well. Your home-buyers want to be a benefit to society and are certainly going to recommend the companies they do business with that reflect how they are embodying those principles.
91% of consumers expect companies to operate responsibly, and 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service from a company they perceive as socially conscious.
Clients want to work with your happy realty specialists. Your home-buyers are loyal to you because they feel good about what you do and are recommending you to all their friends. They are willing to pay more for products and services from a responsible company like yours. The only thing missing from this no-brainer recipe for increased sales is the right property.
If you are walking the talk and being environmentally friendly by using fewer resources and generating less waste, you should see operational savings in these areas at least.
A stable labor force, more customers, increased home sales, and operational savings all combined is the road map to better financial performance.
Doing business, whatever the cost, is no longer an option
From employees to customers, society is demanding that the entities they do business with are ethical, philanthropic, working to preserve the environment, and in general, doing business for the benefit of society, not just the bottom line. CSR is no longer a nice thing to do; it’s the necessary and right thing to do.
One last note — make sure your CSR efforts are authentic in nature and true to your realty company values. Consumers can spot a marketing ploy faster than you think. Quick marketing schemes are seen as just that — schemes. Stay true to your values, choose charities, and philanthropic efforts that align with your core business, and you are on your way to a win-win situation for your realty firm as well as the surrounding community.