Inspiring Change: Top Social Impact Examples

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Social impact is the effect an organization has on the surrounding environment or community where it does business. It can be for social good, like improving sustainability, building access to clean water, or investing in renewable energy. Or, it can be socially bad, such as failing to account for sustainable development, spewing unrestricted emissions, or exploiting child labor

Having a positive social impact isn’t just for non-profits, as anyone can be a social entrepreneur. However, authentic, lasting change is an illusion—at least when you lack a crucial component that turns the loftiest of dreams into reality. That component is commitment. Without commitment, even the best-laid plans will crumble after a few days. 

When it comes to social impact, a lack of commitment and subsequent collapse can have disastrous results for the company and the community at large. Today’s visionary leaders understand that concept well, leading to an uptick in awareness of social impact

These leaders also know that leveraging diversity and inclusion can fast-track their efforts, translating to the lasting, authentic change that organizations only dream of. Today, we explore social impact and how, with the help of Coach Diversity Institute, you can turn your team into a force for good in the community. 

The Power of Diversity in Social Impact Initiatives

Where there is oil, there is environmental impact, or so the saying goes. No more apparent is this saying than in Nigeria’s Niger Delta area, which in the 1950s saw the explosion of oil companies descending into the area upon the discovery of black gold.

Unfortunately, this development didn’t benefit the local communities, leading to scrutiny from world governments, NGOs, and the media. The population is highly diverse in Nigeria around the areas that saw the most development after the discovery of oil, which requires a strategic approach to reduce conflict.

That conflict involved social issues ranging from theft and restlessness to inter-familial feuds. The strategic plan had to take into account the cultural differences within the area, including religious affiliations and how those cultures practiced burials, allocate resources, and balance cultural traditions.     

This story plays out again and again across the world in places like Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Human rights violations, climate change, disasters, disruptions to local supply chains, a lack of fair wages, and even a rise in disabilities follow these companies.  

By prioritizing corporate social responsibility, oil companies cannot only develop the required infrastructure without conflict but also create meaningful partnerships with local populations. Organizations that don’t take social impact initiatives seriously can generate harm, damage profitability, or destroy public perceptions. 

Strategies for Maximizing Social Impact

The relationship between gas companies and the locals in Nigeria culminated in several issues over the more than 50 years since the discovery of oil. While those employed through the various companies make off with record profits, most of the area still lives in abject poverty. 

Nigeria is only one example of a place where maximizing social impact could improve the lives of those living there and boost profits for companies. Luckily, there are some strategies you can use in your organization to avoid the same conflict: 

  1. Integrate social impact initiatives into your mission and core values – Consider the impact your operations could have on the communities where you operate. Considering the well-being of those communities is a solid business model
  2. Provide time and resources for social impact activities – Sponsor events or allocate working time to social impact activities, such as volunteering, donating, or educating. This investment signals to employees and customers that the organization cares about the community. 
  3. Prepare for social impact work – Ensure you and your team have the tools and knowledge necessary for positive contributions. Brush up on English language skills, dust off tools, and read up on the communities you’re serving to maximize impact. 
  4. Invest in continued education and technology – Avoid awkward situations by enrolling in a diversity and inclusion program. Coach Diversity Institute’s wide range of programs can help you prepare for any social impact effort you decide to undertake. 

Whether you’re a human resources professional, part of the management team, or a social worker, arming yourself with the knowledge and strategies to maximize your efforts translates into lasting positive change. Positive social change only happens with consistency and awareness. With the help of Coach Diversity Institute, you elevate your social impact results. 

The Role of Leadership in Social Impact

Leadership should be mission-driven, value-oriented, and visionary. In other words, company culture should be second nature to them. These individuals must be the example of how they want their workplace culture to be, including how they handle social justice

As culture leaders, senior stakeholders wield the most power in shaping and embedding social impact into the organization. These individuals can provide guidance, invest in new technology and learning, or hold others accountable. 

An inclusive leader will also go a step further and actively engage in social impact initiatives. Inclusive leaders work side-by-side with other employees to demonstrate positive social change and to further their own awareness to create a framework others can follow.

Innovations in Social Impact

Businesses are no longer solely responsible for generating profits. They now must manage their ESG (environmental and social governance) to stay competitive in an increasingly global workforce. Business leaders can turn to some modern innovations to improve their social impact, such as: 

  1. Take an impact assessment and make social impact a part of company culture, like Bombas, which donates clothes to those in need when a customer makes a purchase. 
  2. Involve customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders in the decision-making process for how you design and deliver products or services. 
  3. Leverage new technologies, such as a DEI-focused ATS, to streamline efforts that improve job creation, hiring, and staffing.
  4. Experiment, adjust, adapt, and learn from what works well and what doesn’t. Adapt and shift to stay ahead of changes while showing your team your level of commitment. 

Of course, one of the most significant innovations to social impact is the introduction of programs designed to eliminate unconscious bias and microaggressions. The programs through Coach Diversity Institute go beyond providing awareness by providing practical skills and strategies for every situation. 

Overcoming Barriers to Social Impact

For all the good that social impact initiatives bring to the community and organization, there will be some hold-outs. These individuals likely don’t see the value of social activities and will often create barriers to achieving your goals. 

Among the challenges you face include: 

  • Limited time and resources
  • Resistance from stakeholders, leaders, and individual staff
  • Difficulties in measuring ROI and tangible metrics
  • A lack of motivation or momentum

Despite the difficulties social impact leaders must contend with, there are ways to get the team excited and involved in life-changing social efforts. Try these strategies when you face objections to social impact programs

  • Talk about the opportunities possible through social impact (higher profits, greater team unity, positive company perceptions, etc.).
  • Be flexible when introducing changes. Pivot strategies, goals, or approaches to adapt to changing situations. 
  • Ask stakeholders for their input and advice to get them involved. Including stakeholders can strengthen initiatives and invite participation. 
  • Include supplemental education or partner with a provider like Coach Diversity Institute to deliver courses designed for lasting change. 
  • Celebrate wins, no matter how small, to keep the momentum going. Include social impact during key conversations to keep activities at top of mind. 
  • Ask for support and feedback when things aren’t working well. Be open to feedback and have a positive mindset. 

Whenever you make fundamental changes to the status quo, there will be resistance. However, through dedicated and consistent effort, you can shift the mindset of even the most stubborn stakeholders.  

Empower Your Impact: Partner with Coach Diversity Institute

Social impact is the vehicle you and your organization can use to make positive and lasting social outcomes for the communities where you operate. We’ve seen the damage companies can do to environmental sustainability when social impact isn’t a priority, which leads to conflict, mistrust, and lost profits. 

Positive social impact initiatives help integrate a business into the community at large, providing a method for these organizations to attract staff, customers, and strong bottom-line sales. These initiatives can also create inclusive workplace cultures where employees feel encouraged to make a difference. 

Now, companies have the opportunity to further their social impact journey through educational programs through Coach Diversity Institute. Coach Diversity Institute’s various programs support everyone from C-suite executives to front-line employees to build the awareness, skills, and mindset necessary to change communities and industries.