There’s no one quick fix to improving your business’s social licence.
It’s the lots of little things your team does that adds up to a perception and feeling that your business can be trusted to do the right thing. It’s about building integrity and that doesn’t happen overnight. You need to build a culture around you that humanises the business (a sum of parts) so it can function and serve its stakeholders effectively.
Here are some recommendations.
1. Be accountable
Our actions affect people - the communities and societies we live in. When we do wrong by them, we need to front up, not whitewash but address their concerns rather than the shareholders.
2. Understand who your stakeholders are
If you don’t know who you’re affecting, you don’t know who could potentially derail your business. It’s in your best interest to get to know those that might take exception to how you operate
3. Engage from the ground up
Anything worth doing (long-lasting) starts at the roots. Campaigns run from head office struggle to last beyond its instigator, so empower stakeholders/communities and industry to affect their own change if you want it to be enduring and solve the right issues. By doing this, you’ll also avoid public pressure on the government to regulate if those directly affected are able to influence the outcomes.
4. Be transparent
Set strategies to address stakeholder concerns and to realign with each other's values. Integrate the strategy to the roots of your business and report on it warts and all. With transparency comes credibility and trust - the foundation of Social Licence.
5. Be brave
Own your failures. It’s a far more effective way to rebuild trust and credibility to be transparent when you’ve got it wrong. No more pointing the finger in trying to make it fair – look after your own backyard first.