Building Communities to Achieve Sustainability
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Building Communities to Achieve Sustainability

Takeaways from the NHBSR 2022 Spring Conference

Being a force for good in the business world is at the heart of what we do at MAYO and we’re always looking for ways to bring that vision to the larger community. On May 4, Carrie Mayo had a chance to do just that when she attended the New Hampshire Business for Social Responsibility 2022 Spring Conference and appeared as a member of the panel in the breakout session, “Corporate Citizenship: The Role of Business in Civic Discourse and Community Engagement.”

During the session and while attending other conference events, Mayo heard from a number of business leaders about building strong, passion-fueled teams and finding new and powerful ways to have a positive effect on the community. What she heard again and again is that sustainability is no longer an aspirational approach to business–it is THE way businesses are operating today.

Here, Carrie shares her takeaways from the NHBSR Spring Conference and the challenging, thought-provoking conversations people were having.

Giving Back to the Community
The annual NHBSR Spring Conference is a chance for businesses engaged at various levels of sustainable and socially responsible business operations to learn and share best practices. The conference seeks to help unite businesses with a common purpose and find ways to work together to find solutions to the environmental challenges we face today.

Part of that challenge is finding meaningful ways to do this work with our communities. Mayo, founder and creative director at MAYO Web Design + Marketing, and other business leaders from companies like King Arthur Flour and Revision Energy dove into the details of how they’re facilitating change. They agreed that employees and customers want to be a part of companies that are doing good. And, as Mayo pointed out, that being a business that has a point of view is the standard today, not the exception.

“What I’ve often said is that businesses have an audience and get to share their point of view on a public stage and within the four walls of their company,” she said. “What are they going to choose to discuss? Business leaders need to think about the kind of conversation they want to have.”

Building from Within
A big focus of the discussion was about how companies today are finding meaningful engagement by channeling the energy and excitement about sustainability of those who work at the company. It could begin as simply as empowering employees to build a stronger community within the business to inspire people, whether it’s bringing in ideas to reduce lunchroom waste or asking coworkers to participate in a climate rally.

Instead of a top-down approach where leadership decides where the company’s time and energy should be spent on community engagement, business leaders are starting initiatives with team members, their friends and family, then inviting the wider community to build out the effort.

“When you listen to those within the company and learn what they’re passionate about, they’ll immediately be more excited about community engagement,” said Mayo. “As the program grows, it’s a seamless transition to becoming a part of the community, whether it’s your industry, or the town you’re based in or throughout the state.”

Workforce for the Future
Developing a skilled workforce has been a challenge in New Hampshire for nearly a decade. Employee retention, as well as developing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a business practice were both highlighted as key to building our future workforce. Mayo said many at the conference talked about how closely the success of a business is connected to DEI.

“When you broaden your workforce to include all people, you get new perspectives and can open up to new markets,” said Mayo. “If you’re seeking better employee retention, having new perspectives and new ways of speaking to each other and focusing on work relationships that are more thoughtful and inclusive are all important to getting to that goal.”

Adopting sustainability practices, no matter where your company is at, will require change. Mayo admitted that change can be hard, but possible with good leadership.

“Companies must get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Mayo. “We are managing in a time of uncertainty. Just remember doing good doesn’t mean you have to do something extraordinary. It’s about doing what’s right and what’s right for the company today.”

Want to develop better employee and community engagement?

Book a call with Carrie Mayo, Founder and Creative Director.

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