Corporate social innovation (CSI) is a concept that evolved from corporate social responsibility. It describes the integration of social innovation into the activities and business of the corporation. CSI creates a positive impact on society while developing profitable products addressing the needs of society and using its resources to benefit society.
When the pandemic started, corporations started CSI programs to support a society that bore the brunt of the health crisis. Additionally, these companies are now at the forefront of stakeholder capitalism where they focus on serving their stakeholders, including the customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, and society.
Promote Mental Health
Despite the rollout of the vaccines, authorities still recommend that everyone should continue to follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus, especially with the discovery of new variants in some states.
This caused a lot of uncertainty among the population as they continued to isolate themselves, particularly those who are quite susceptible to the disease. This resulted in stress among a good number of the population. Many people felt angry, fearful, and even sad. It also caused sleeping problems, appetite loss, and worsening of chronic health conditions
Due to this, corporations can pitch in and promote mental health among the members of a community. This is essential since the pandemic had a negative impact on the emotional well-being of many people. Companies can use technology to connect their employees with mental health professionals. They can also prioritize the wellbeing of their employees until the pandemic is over.
They can also provide access to communications technology to people who have little resources to do so. This allows them to connect with family and friends they have not seen ever since the pandemic started.
Offer Financial Security
With many Americans losing their jobs due to the pandemic, corporations can commit to ensuring their employees will still have a job in the middle of the crisis. A report from the Bank of America showed that around 62 percent of companies feel responsible for ensuring the financial wellness of their employees. The figure is higher compared to a similar study in 2013 that only 13 percent of companies had the same sentiment.
These companies address this concern through counseling and training as well as providing advice on retirement, debt management, and budgeting. Many companies have shifted towards using their financial wellness solutions to benefit their employees. Surveys showing employee satisfaction, stress reduction, and cost for both employees and the company served as the basis for these solutions.
The stressful situation employees are currently experiencing highlights this need for corporations to give their employees some form of assurance that they will not lose their source of income in the middle of the crisis. This concern shown by these corporations will return to them in the form of better productivity and efficiency on the part of their employees.
Donate to Small Nonprofits
Many companies have continued to support large nonprofit organizations as they help communities cope with the crisis. But some smaller nonprofits that continued to work in providing for the needs of the communities have seen their funding run low as their usual donors have tightened their belts due to the crisis.
With this, corporations should also donate to these small nonprofits to allow them to continue their work. These organizations do not have the same clout as their bigger counterparts but are trying to make do with what they have. If funding is limited, these corporations can help in other ways such as supporting the outreach packages offered by these nonprofits have for the communities.
Doing this allows corporations to maximize their reach in helping as many communities as they can, including those members that may have no access to the programs provided by larger organizations. Smaller nonprofits normally run soup kitchens and homeless shelters for people who lost their jobs in the pandemic.
Support Small Businesses
The pandemic saw the confidence of smaller businesses plummeting as they failed to connect with their customers who have stayed home to avoid getting sick during the pandemic. Large companies have started to support small and medium enterprises that are facing difficulties during the crisis.
For instance, Amazon created the Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund that provided funding to small businesses in Seattle that needed assistance. The fund initially earmarked by the e-commerce giant was around $5 million. But it released more than $11 million in free rent and grants for over 900 businesses in the area. These businesses supported the jobs of many Seattle residents who were also affected by the health crisis.
The full effect of the pandemic has yet to be seen. But with the help of large corporations, different communities around the country can cope with the situation and allow them to survive until everything goes back to normal.