Corporate Responsibility used to refer to a few fortune 500 companies, and their efforts to not seem well, “corporatey.” The idea was that companies should care about the environment and their employees as much as their profits (the buzzword for this was triple bottom line). During the recession as profits grew slim, the concept evolved. It is still evolving, but in ways that make it easier for family-owned businesses like dealerships to shine.
The voluntary Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an international independent standards organization helping businesses understand their impacts on climate change, is picking-up steam, and most OEMs are already making tracks toward public performance reporting on a number of indicators. It is a matter of time before their affiliated dealerships and repair centers are also affected. This article from EHStoday discusses the direction things are headed in more detail, but here are a few areas of interest that will position your dealership favorably as public reporting gains momentum.
- Make sure your facility is up to code.
Document facility audits, inspections, along with injury and illness rates. Chances are, facility inspections will become more standardized across regions, but the good news is that if you’re already documenting and keeping up with compliance in your area, then your dealership is ready to ride this wave.
- Make sure your employment practices are up to code.
For GRI, there are a number of standards around rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region, return-to-work and retention rates after parental leave by gender, and the ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women and men by employee category and by significant locations of operations. Basically, this means that your HR team needs to document that employment practices are by the books, and keep accurate records, especially around these employment activities.
- Keep sponsoring the little league team.
Small businesses have an advantage in GRI reporting because they rely on a local clientele. Already, most dealerships have learned to reach out and support a number of local community efforts, and they enjoy a return on investment from good publicity, name recognition, and influence that come from these activities.
While businesses in general are moving toward more transparency, it is important to remember that these efforts are not expected to come at the expense of autonomy or profits. A lot is going on right now around implementing public reporting in a way that actually makes businesses more competitive, and ultimately will cut-down on the number of reports and regulatory agencies that companies will have to report to. Being proactive and striving to maintain or exceed regulations will pay off in the long run in terms of profit and company reputation.