Giva Blog
Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

Save Money, Perform Better: The Benefits of Improving First Contact Resolution

Contact Us for First Contact Resolution

When it comes to providing high quality IT service, having a high First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate is essential. High First Contact Resolution rates allow for resolution to be delivered quickly and closely to the customer, minimizing inconvenience and building customer satisfaction. Successful Service Desks are able to resolve routine requests and incidents enabling engineers on levels 2 and 3 to focus on more demanding and specialized tasks.

In order to improve your FCR rate, you will first need to measure your Service Desk's performance. Metrics should not be used as a one-time performance indicator or point of reference; best practices for improving FCR require using metrics for continuous quality improvement.

Metrics should be developed with your Service Level Agreement (SLA) in mind, and your end goal as a point of reference. Not only should metrics help you to analyze black and white aspects of your service such as call volume, FCR rates, etc., but also 360 degree feedback measures like client satisfaction or operational maturity in regards to individual and team performance.

Knowledge management is important for improving First Contact Resolution. Generally, this involves gathering environment-specific knowledge regarding systems, configuration, dependencies and failure points. Use this knowledge to identify opportunities for improvement, and establish a system and culture for sharing knowledge and new techniques. Some effective models for improving knowledge and knowledge sharing include:

  • Regular observation, coaching and feedback sessions with staff
  • Creating a knowledge base that allows for easy searches for information
  • Regular status reports including lessons learned, achievements and obstacles to overcome

High First Contact Resolution rates equate to money saved. The estimated cost for resolving a ticket on level one is around $32 versus $60 for an escalated ticket, hence, thousands of dollars can be saved by improving FCR levels. As an example, a Service Desk that averages 4,000 calls per month will save an estimated $28,000 by improving FCR from 50% to 70%. Beyond financial benefits, improved FCR enhances end-user productivity, job satisfaction for both Level 1 and 2 engineers, relationships between teams, and, of course, customer satisfaction!

Please see Giva's whitepaper on service desk optimization for a much more in-depth review of this subject.

Giva Announces New Partnership with Pacen Corp Pty Limited

Pacen Corp

In its ongoing effort to deliver unequaled value to customers around the world, Giva is excited to announce a new partnership with Pacen Corp Pty Limited., based in North Sydney, Australia. Pacen Corp. specializes in the distribution of IT Service Desk and Asset Management solutions throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Rim region. In its vision to partner with global leaders for enterprise management, Pacen Corp. offers qualified practitioners in Change Management, Incident Management, Service Desk and ITIL "Best Practice" processes and procedures.

Pacen's strong market knowledge and expertise creates a timely and unified platform partnership with Giva, both of which are poised to offer superior solutions to Australia and the entire Asia Pacific region's growing demand for cloud-based IT Service Management.

"We look forward to working alongside the Giva team in providing the highest quality of products and service to the Asia Pacific Region", said Enzo Casali, General Manager of Pacen.

Giva has established a firm corporate commitment to the Asia Pacific region by hosting cloud-based applications on server farms in Australia. The speed and responsiveness of Giva's cloud IT Service Management applications are unparalleled. All customer data is stored locally on server farms in Australia to assure the highest levels of data security and privacy for organizations in the Asia Pacific region.

Giva offers a suite of exceptional and highly differentiated cloud-based IT Service Management and Customer Service products which excel above the competition as evidenced by the business results achieved by customers and direct comparison of Giva such as ManageEngine Service Desk Plus, SysAid Cloud, Salesforce.com RemedyForce and FrontRange Solutions HEAT products. Giva's satisfied customers reported measurable improvements as follows:

Saint Elizabeth Health Care: 90% reduction in the time required to configure/customize Giva

Miles & Stockbridge P.C.: 70% decrease in number of tickets that remain open from day-to-day

EDIMS: 100% faster application responsive/speed

Miles & Stockbridge P.C.: 70% increase in IT productivity in using the dashboards and real-time reports

Gordon & Rees LLP: 60% increase in meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Sante Health Systems: 50% increase in productivity by using Giva's integrated custom forms

"The demand for cloud-based application solutions in Australia and New Zealand is growing exponentially, and we are excited to work with the dedicated and highly skilled Pacen team to meet those demands head-on", said Ron Avignone, Giva founder.

About Giva

Founded in 1999, Giva was among the first to provide a suite of help desk and customer service/call center applications architected for the cloud. Now, with hundreds of customer driven releases, the Giva Service Management™ Suite delivers an intuitive, easy-to-use design that can be deployed in just days and requires only one hour of training. Giva's robust, fast and painless reporting/analytics/KPIs quickly measure team productivity, responsiveness and customer satisfaction resulting in faster and higher quality decision-making. Customization and configuration are all point and click with no programming or consultants required to deliver a substantially lower total cost of ownership. Giva is a private company headquartered in Santa Clara, California serving delighted customers worldwide.

About Pacen

Pacen Corp specialises in the distribution of Service Desk and Asset Management solutions throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Rim region.

For more than twenty years, it has distributed its products directly to corporate, government, education, and non-for-profit organisations; coupled with services for effective implementation, customisation and technician training.

Let's Shake on It: Implementing a Service Level Agreement

Securing a Service Level Agreement

What is a Service Level Agreement? (SLA)

Think of a SLA like a contract; it will contain agreed-upon standards and standard operating procedures for your team in providing services to your client. SLAs keep your organization accountable and set clear guidelines for what customers should expect from their IT services, defining for customers what to expect from their services, and creating a foundation for mutual accountability between your business and your customers. Service Level Agreements can be developed for internal customers as well, such as an IT help desk's levels of service for the personnel they support.


Benefits of a SLAs

  • Improve customer service and contribute to long-term customer loyalty and engagement
  • Facilitate communication and understanding between your business and your clients
  • Define procedures
  • Provide a basis for conflict resolution
  • Documented agreement
  • Mutually accepted

 

Putting Together a Service Level Agreement

Build Internal Commitment. What you put into your SLA you must adhere to. Make sure that your entire IT service desk staff and support groups are ready and willing to commit to the SLA.

Get to know your customer. Your team will understand how to best help your client with their IT needs if you thoroughly understand your client.

Identify participants. Identify all stakeholders, including clients, IT service desk staff, outside organization that may assist the service desk, important individuals or decision makers, etc.

Set up support metrics. Establish guidelines within your IT service desk team for responding to various issues, assigning different situations/cases different severity levels. Once you have defined severity levels; assign cycle times (how long it takes to resolve a case) according to the level of severity of each particular case.

Create a Rough Draft. The following are examples of important elements of a SLA:

  • Introduction
  • Service goal
  • Definition of terms - not everyone will know the terms used; define terms to the lowest common level
  • Service delivery elements (e.g. business hours, methods for requesting service, service tracking procedures, environments supported)
  • Escalation procedures
  • Telephone, web and email response times
  • First contact resolution by the IT service desk (e.g. IT service desk level 1 will resolve at least 70% of all cases received)
  • Reporting methods
  • SLA contract periods
  • Examples of cases by severity level and type
  • Sample of customer satisfaction survey questions

 

Getting Everyone on Board

After creating a rough draft, present it to your managers and IT/customer service teams to obtain their feedback, approval and confirmation to proceed. Once your team is on board, it is time to meet with your customers to review the Service Level Agreement and get their feedback. Make sure you are ready to explain your reasons for certain decisions regarding items included in the SLA (e.g. response times, severity levels, etc.). Should your customers request alterations to certain items in your SLA, it is important to listen to them, as they will probably be fair. Once you come to mutual agreement with one of your customers, you will be well on your way to SLA success with all of your customers.

For more information on preparing Service Level Agreements for your business, Giva provides much more in-depth coverage of this subject in our whitepaper Implementing Service Level Agreements, which you can view online or download for free.

Look for Hackers to Target Healthcare in 2015

Healthcare Data Hacking

Now more than ever, businesses need to be diligent about securing customer information. According to a recent news article, 2015 could be the "Year of the Healthcare Hack." Hackers could target both healthcare and insurance companies in order to secure customers personal information. The No. 2 U.S. health insurer, Anthem Inc., disclosed a breach of its database that has affected nearly 80 million records leading to investigations by state and local authorities. While in the past, cybercriminals have focused on the financial and retail sector; the new target is less-secure medical data. That being the case, many businesses are starting to focus more on security. According to research analyst Stephanie Balaouras at Forrester, "If your company execs are smart, they will make protecting customers' data and preserving their privacy one of their top business and social responsibilities in 2015." (Forrester)

With all the benefits of Healthcare Information Technology, the obstacle of cyber attacks must be addressed as well. Many businesses have prospered because of HIT and will continue to do so in the future.  However, being proactive in addressing this security issue must be a priority for all businesses in 2015 in order to secure customer information. The Reuters article above mentions that "UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. have been warning investors about the risks of cyber crime since 2011." Warning investors is important; preventing hackers from stealing customer information is paramount. In meeting the strict HIPAA compliance regulations for cyber security, Giva can be the answer to businesses concerned about this problem. For more information read 7 Key elements of Giva's HIPPA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Giva Announces New Partnership with Bellridge Pty Limited

Bellridge Pty Ltd

Giva is very pleased to announce a new partnership with Bellridge Pty Limited, linking arms to provide unparalleled value to its customers around the globe. Bellridge, with locations in both Sydney and Auckland, represents a very strong, well established presence in providing integrated IT solutions and stellar technical support to organizations throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

Bellridge's strong regional knowledge, expertise and reputation as a value added reseller, paired with Giva's easy-to-use cloud-based solutions, creates a powerful synergistic team to meet the growing demand in the Asia Pacific region for cloud IT Service Management.

"We look forward to working alongside the Giva team in providing the highest quality of products and services to the Asia Pacific region", said Jon Alexander, Director of Bellridge.

Giva has established a firm corporate commitment to the Asia Pacific region by hosting cloud-based applications on server farms in Australia. The speed and responsiveness of Giva's cloud IT Service Management applications are unparalleled. All customer data is stored locally on server farms in Australia to assure the highest levels of data security and privacy for organizations in the Asia Pacific region.

Giva offers a suite of exceptional and highly differentiated cloud-based IT Service Management and Customer Service products which excel above the competition as evidenced by the business results achieved by customers and direct comparison of Giva to BMC Track-It! and BMC Footprints, Salesforce.com RemedyForce, FrontRange Solutions HEAT, and SysAid Cloud products. Giva's satisfied customers reported measurable improvements as follows:

Saint Elizabeth Health Care: 90% reduction in the time required to configure/customize Giva

Miles & Stockbridge P.C.: 70% decrease in number of tickets that remain open from day-to-day

EDIMS: 100% faster application responsive/speed

Miles & Stockbridge P.C.: 70% increase in IT productivity in using the dashboards and real-time reports

Gordon & Rees LLP: 60% increase in meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Sante Health Systems: 50% increase in productivity by using Giva's integrated custom forms

"The demand for cloud-based application solutions in Australia and New Zealand is growing exponentially, and we are excited to work with the dedicated and highly skilled Bellridge team to meet those demands head-on", said Ron Avignone, Giva founder.

About Giva

Founded in 1999, Giva was among the first to provide a suite of help desk and customer service/call center applications architected for the cloud. Now, with hundreds of customer driven releases, the Giva Service Management™ Suite delivers an intuitive, easy-to-use design that can be deployed in just days and requires only one hour of training. Giva's robust, fast and painless reporting/analytics/KPIs quickly measure team productivity, responsiveness and customer satisfaction resulting in faster and higher quality decision-making. Customization and configuration are all point and click with no programming or consultants required to deliver a substantially lower total cost of ownership. Giva is a private company headquartered in Santa Clara, California serving delighted customers worldwide.

About Bellridge

For nearly a decade, Bellridge has been providing integrated IT solutions to institutions throughout Australia and New Zealand. Widely known for their ease-of-use, affordability and high level performance; SMEs, large enterprises, non-for-profits and government organisations across all industries have benefited from the solutions Bellridge.

Bellridge is focused on providing the highest level of service to their customers through their experience and expertise; and can offer help with every aspect of IT investment, including:

  • Pre and post sales support and new products enquiries
  • Pre and post technical support
  • License renewals and upgrades
  • Professional Services, including implementation, customisation and training.

To this end, Bellridge has offices in Sydney and Auckland if your organisation needs local support and Professional Services.

Value in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT)

Healthcare Information Technology

In a digitized world, one of the greatest conveniences is health information technology (HIT). Considering nearly everyone in the US is a consumer of healthcare, there are numerous benefits to adopting electronic health records. The evidence report, Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology, outlines a few. Health information technology is a means of electronically storing, recording, accessing, or transferring a patient's medical records. This includes health and medical history. Not only is this paperless and perhaps more reliable, but it allows for "clinical decision-making and disease management." It also allows for prescription filling, test ordering, and care reminding. For example, the system can provide alerts for necessary patient vaccinations or send a prescription to be filled at a pharmacy convenient to the patient. Overall, health information technology improves the efficiency of healthcare - a highly profitable, nationwide business.

However, adopting HIT is costly and requires change in the organization. It is considered an investment, but perhaps a necessary investment in terms of economic advancement. In non-financially focused studies concerning adoption of HIT, areas of improvement included increased productivity by the healthcare provider, improved patient safety and, subsequently, fewer adverse drug events (ADE) and time spent in hospitals to treat ADEs, and better physician decision-making. For example, the ability to reduce the "ordering of redundant clinical laboratory tests could produce an annual savings of $35,000 in laboratory charges." It is economically beneficial to improve the efficiency of healthcare.

In a day and age where nearly everything is digitized, it is only fitting a business as widely used as healthcare should follow suit. Adopting health information technology will improve provider efficiency while increasing consumer centeredness. Electronic health records are more personalized, more organized and more efficient. Although implementation of HIT is an expensive adjustment, benefits for both provider and consumer are apparent. Healthcare efficiency is important to society as a whole.

With efficiency of digital access to healthcare records comes the necessity of increased data security measures. The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, was passed to establish a national framework for security standards and protection of confidentiality with regard to health care data and information. Fortunately, Giva makes HIPAA compliance very easy for our customers. The data center, hardware and software infrastructure of Giva's cloud help desk & customer service software meet the very strict HIPAA compliance regulations. See 7 Key Elements of Giva's HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Context-Focused Giving, Part 2

Business & Communities Philanthropic Partners

In part 1, we introduced context-focused giving as corporate philanthropy and strategy combining to achieve both social and economic gains, examining how this can be done by analyzing various factors, based on the Harvard Business Review publication, "The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy," by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, last time including factor conditions and demand conditions. Here, we continue on with the other two elements: context for strategy and rivalry and related and supporting industries.

Context for strategy and rivalry has to do with the rules of business engagement in which a company operates. A context-focused giving strategy that works to open local markets to trade, that is governed by policies that reward fair competition and deter corruption, has a clear and widespread social impact that benefits communities and citizens as well as the economic benefit of operating in an amenable business environment. Twenty-six U.S. corporations have engaged in giving targeted toward improving their context for strategy and rivalry by joining forces with Transparency International in their fight to end corruption and create an intersection of business, government and society that places a high value on transparency and accountability. Their work and corporate partnerships has a significant and far-reaching impact on society and the economy.

Companies rely on other related and supporting industries to operate. Philanthropy that is focused on generating benefits and improvements for related businesses or local suppliers allows for corporate growth and partnership opportunities, along with a better use of time and resources: "Proximity enhances responsiveness, exchange of information, and innovation, in addition to lowering transportation and inventory costs" (Porter and Kramer, 5). American Express has used context-focused giving to identify the travel industry as an important related industry where efforts and resources could be used to generate social benefits and economic gains for American Express. They have provided significant funding to Travel and Tourism Academies that train students for careers with travel-related companies such as airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Their program has improved educational and job opportunities for people in communities served, as well as a competitive advantage for local travel clusters. Because American Express relies heavily on travel-spending, their global brand is also a part of local travel clusters, and they have a stake in these clusters' success.

Shifting your corporate giving strategy to context-focused giving is a rigorous process that should seek and consider input from management throughout your company in identifying a corporate giving strategy aimed toward improving competitive context. One question to ask when examining your company's competitive context is, "What constraints, tangible or intangible, prevent or limit our productivity and growth?" The more specific you can get when identifying areas for improved context, the better foundation you will have for beginning to research, plan and implement a successful context-focused giving strategy. Porter and Kramer stress the importance of rigorously tracking and recording the results of your initiative, both socially and economically, to provide a framework for creating evidence-based improvements and modifications in your initiative. They also encourage forming partnerships with other stakeholders, the benefits of collective action being enhanced efficacy and shared costs.

Businesses thrive from good strategy; there is no reason why the extensive research and planning that goes into other areas of corporate strategy should not be applied to corporate philanthropy. Corporations have more financial and intellectual resources than most non-profits that can provide unique perspectives and solutions to societal issues. Corporate Social Responsibility does not have to be separate from Corporate Strategy; context-focused giving is a framework for developing philanthropic initiatives with clear social and economic benefits.

5 Do's and Don'ts for Any Job Interview

Interview Questions

Job interviews can be a nerve wracking experience. However, with proper preparation, you can make any interview work in your favor and impress your interviewer. Here are 5 do's and don'ts to follow:

  1. DO have a list of prepared questions to ask about the company and the position.

    Here is a list to get you started:

    • How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
    • What are the day-to-day responsibilities for this job?
    • If I were to be accepted into this position, where would you like me to focus my energies first?
    • What are some of the skills and abilities needed to succeed in this job?
    • What particular computer equipment and software do you use?
    • Is there anything I could do in advance to prepare for this position?
    • Can you describe an ideal employee?

    DON'T say "no" when asked if you have any questions or act like a deer in headlights when it is your turn to speak.

    Here is a list of what not to ask in an interview:

    • What does your company do?
    • Avoid "yes" or "no" questions. Good questions are open ended and invite conversation.
    • Never ask about background checks, time off, salary, benefits, etc,.
    • How quickly can I be promoted?
    • Does your company monitor emails, internet usage, and phone calls?
    • If I were to be hired, when can I start applying to other positions within the company?

     

  2. DO formulate a strategy.

    Before you go to the interview, decide on three or four messages you want to convey throughout the interview. These messages should show a connection between what you have achieved and what is needed to succeed at the job. Interviewers tend to become invested in stories more than they do facts and data from your resume. Be sure to rehearse your stories beforehand.


    DON'T ramble on about topics unrelated to the job or the question.

    Be sure to keep your answers concise and on topic.

     

  3. DO listen carefully and pay close attention to the interviewer's questions and instructions.


    DON'T leave your phone on ring or vibrate.

     

  4. DO show up to the interview well-dressed.

    Here are a few tips on how to dress-to-impress:

    • Ladies: Wear a dark suit pant or skirt with a tailored blouse and dark shoes (low to medium heel) or a classic style dress with natural toned tights/stockings.
    • Gentleman: Wear a dark suit with a light colored long sleeved button-up shirt and a tie with a minimal design. Dark socks and shoes are recommended. A less conservative choice would be khakis or slacks with a blazer and long sleeved button-up shirt.

    DON'T show up wearing clothing that is too tight or revealing or too brightly colored.

    Make sure your socks match and that your shoes are closed-toed. Do not wear any fragrance or cologne.

     

  5. DO convey comfortable body language.

    Be sure to sit up straight, maintain eye contact (but don't stare), and smile often. Your tone should be reflected in your facial expressions so that you appear genuine.


    DON'T slouch or lean too far forward.

    Try to avoid crossing your arms or legs, nodding excessively, fidgeting, or looking around too much.

     

To help you be further prepared of what kinds of questions might be asked of you, or for interviewers looking for a comprehensive list of interview questions and answers for any job candidate, please see Giva's whitepaper titled "Interview Questions and Answers for Any Job Candidate."

Metrics for Non-profits: Improving Volunteer and Donor Engagement: Part 2

Metrics/graphs for Volunteerism and Non-profits

See "Metrics for Non-profits: Improving Volunteer and Donor Engagement: Part 1" here.

Metrics from volunteer surveys can be used to assess volunteers' motivations, goals and needs to ensure that they feel satisfied from their experiences and have their needs and expectations met. The more pleased a volunteer is with their experience, the more likely they are to continue to volunteer and give. Manpower is often a limited resource at mission-driven organizations, so volunteer retention is essential. Equally as important as volunteer retention is volunteer impact; metrics will help to determine volunteer impact, not just by hours served, but also the degree to which volunteer programs generated positive outcomes for individuals and communities served.

Volunteers and donors look to give their time and effort to effective organizations and programs, those with meaningful and measured social value. Just like people are more likely to buy a product with strong customer reviews and high sales, volunteers and donors are more likely to become invested in supporting an organization that has proven social value. Root Cause, a non-profit research and consulting firm, performed a study entitled "Informed Giving: What Donors Want and How Non-profits can Provide It." According to the study, non-profits should appeal to donors by making a clear connection between a donor's gift and its impact. Metrics serve as credible means of support for a non-profit's social value: "As many as 75 percent of donors use information about the non-profit's impact, while 63 percent use information about the social issue the non-profit addresses" ("Informed Giving").

Donors conduct research through a variety of methods when choosing where to invest. If non-profits want to attract these donors, they will need to make information about their impact readily available, in multiple locations and formats. Money can be spent more wisely if a non-profit uses metrics to focus their funding and cut extraneous or ineffective programs, grants, etc. More and more corporations are becoming involved in social responsibility initiatives. As non-profits compete to earn the loyalty of these previously untapped financial resources, proving social value is more important than ever.

Not only can reports and metrics be used as supporting material to show potential donors proof of an organizational social value and impact, but reports can also be analyzed to identify prospective recurring members and donors. Metrics for evaluating donor engagement provide insight on sound practices. In his article, "5 Metrics Every Development Director Should Know," Mike Spear stresses the importance of internal benchmarks for improving and growing donor-relations. Year-over-year fundraising metrics can be used to compare growth and set new goals. He also suggests calculating a "Donor Acquisition Cost" to measure the cost-to-benefit ratio of inputs and outputs from non-profits' fundraising and donor engagement programs. Spear notes the importance of collecting data on three donor-specific characteristics: Donor-attrition, donor-lifetime and donor-value. By looking at a complete picture of a specific donor profile, non-profits can once again target their efforts and use their findings to improve donor-relations and engagement.

Non-profits can reap great benefits from utilizing a cloud-based CRM software system. Using metrics, non-profits can generate reports that measure their social impact and the efficacy of their volunteer and donor programs. Metrics provide the evidence for sound strategies for improving and growing any organization. Volunteer and donor engagement are just two areas of a non-profit's structure that can be improved through the use of metrics. Many more aspects of a non-profit's work can be enhanced using data analysis. Cloud-based CRM software provides non-profits with an easy system for collecting data, generating reports, and enhancing strategy to realize their full potential.

Adapting CSR for Small Business

Businessman Giving to the Community

Discussions about corporate social responsibility (CSR) are often reserved for large multinational companies. Their size and durability gives them an opportunity to tackle some long-term societal challenges. However, it is false to conclude that corporate citizenship is exclusively the domain of larger enterprises. In fact, many small companies do more for their local communities per capita than their larger brethren. CSR occupies a different place in these firms. Many practices, from starting a CSR initiative to tracking results, are done quite differently in small enterprises. Regardless, corporate citizenship continues to be an important part of the small business community. It is worth examining in some detail.

First Steps

For many small businesses, the idea of implementing a set of CSR policies seems daunting. What is often forgotten is how ingrained many of these policies already are in the companies' structures. Paul Hohnen for International Institute for Sustainable Development in the document "Corporate Social Responsibility: An Implementation Guide for Business" has compiled a checklist and set of reminders (pg 40) for small businesses thinking about their CSR policies. The document recommends assigning an individual, perhaps a student or consultant, to gather relevant information. It is important for small businesses to examine their policies from implementation to evaluation. Their small size actually makes tracking easier. The close relationship many employees have with the company's stakeholders (in particular consumers and suppliers) simplifies the examination process considerably. Understanding what can be considered CSR is an important first step for many small firms.

Hohnen offers some interesting examples of small CSR initiatives that might be easy to adopt. These suggestions include implementing an environmental management system, making some services or products free for local nonprofits, and sharing CSR lessons with other small businesses. Even something as simple as improving the company's recycling policies can be considered CSR. It is important for small firms to remember that the absence of a detailed CSR report does not mean the company is neglecting CSR; certain aspects of corporate citizenship might simply be taken for granted.

Identifying Relevance

It is increasingly evident that CSR means something very different for small businesses. An interesting article in Forbes by N. Craig Smith titled "When it Comes to CSR, Size Matters" offers an interesting perspective on why this difference arises. The author suggests that because company founders are often still running their businesses, CSR is a more personal matter for small companies. Ensuring commitment from management is thus not as big a challenge. Small companies and their employees also tend to have a more personal stake in the community. This notion makes programs like job training and infrastructure improvements quite relevant to the business. Small firms are less concerned with reputation-related pressures and more focused on ensuring a positive local environment.

 

Ultimately, small businesses should be reminded that they are often pursuing CSR initiatives even if they are not explicitly defined that way. It can be very beneficial to identify these policies if the company is in a position to do so. The goal does not have to be to tackle a major societal challenge like a multinational company. Rather, small businesses should be focused on identifying projects that lend themselves to the company's expertise. Small businesses are affected by many of the same CSR trends as their larger counterparts. Their challenge is to adapt solutions to their particular situations.

 

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