Business Ethics and Social Responsibility for Startups

Now more than ever, how a business conducts itself, ethically speaking, can change the trajectory of success. But “ethical” has a tendency to be a slippery slope. Who isn’t familiar with the scandals of Enron, Bernie Madoff, or the Lehman Brothers?

Each of their stories is a testament as to why it’s important to implement ethical values in a company at the earliest stages – even when you’re a startup. 

These building blocks can be critical in determining how a company deals with these “slippery slope” situations and how to handle internal and external issues when they arise. Values help business leaders stay aware of temptations and prevent lapses as the business grows. 

To help startup founders integrate business ethics at the startup stage, Embroker put together this comprehensive guide that highlights real-world examples from companies who do it best, tips for what to avoid, and ways socially responsible practices can set your business apart. To start, we’ll cover four reasons why you should implement these practices.

Why Business Ethics and Social Responsibility Matter

We briefly discussed that the way a business conducts itself can change the trajectory of success. But some of the top reasons behind business ethics and social responsibility may not be 100% obvious.

1. The Ability to Recruit Top Talent

The ability to recruit top talent — By 2025, roughly 75% of the global workforce will be millennials. The corporate cultures of most large organizations and startups will therefore be directly shaped by this generation’s habits and expectations. So, what does this have to do with business ethics and social responsibility?

You guessed it. Millennials care (deeply) about how businesses conduct themselves. In fact, 86% of Millennials consider it a priority to work for a business that conducts itself ethically and responsibly. In fact, most Millennials would be willing to take a considerable pay cut to work for such a business. In turn, how you operate as a business directly affects the ability to attract top talent and keep them around.

2. Gaining a Competitive Edge

When it comes to business ethics and social responsibility, another factor to consider is the compounding nature of competition. As more businesses adopt and invest in ethical practices, those that do not will look worse by comparison. 

3. It Can Build or Break a Brand

On that note, how you adopt ethical business practices and implementing social responsibility matters. True, they are good ways to help build your brand, especially when you’re just starting out, but they should never be used as solely marketing tactics.

4. Employee Engagement

The same way ethics and socially responsible initiatives attract talent, they also keep them around and keep employees engaged. Implementing a socially responsible program for your company or having a specific employee spearhead it is a way to help people feel like they’re part of something bigger and more important than their day to day, In turn, this impacts employee engagement.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating an ethical framework for your startup or how to implement socially responsible practices when you’re just getting off the ground, check out their full business ethics guide.

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