It's no secret that businesses can be a remarkably powerful source for good in our lives, our communities, and our world. According to research, 62 percent of all workers--and 78 percent of Millennials--said they'd accept a pay cut to work for a company with a mission that mirrored their values.
With that in mind, today global toy maker Lego revealed a new initiative called Lego Replay--a pilot program that will accept any and all previously used Lego bricks and donate them to children's nonprofits in the United States.
The process is simple: collect any loose Lego bricks, sets, or elements you've got squirreled away in your house, place them into a cardboard box, and visit the Lego Replay site to print out a free UPS shipping label. The package will be sent to the Give Back Box facility, where each brick will be sorted, inspected by hand, and given a rigorous cleaning before it is donated to selected nonprofits, currently including Teach for America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
Says Tim Brooks, vice president, environmental responsibility at the Lego Group:
We know people don't throw away their Lego bricks. The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren. But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose or donate their bricks, so with Replay, they have an easy option that's both sustainable and socially impactful.
In her book Just Good Business, UC Berkeley business professor Kellie McElhaney explains that employees and customers increasingly want to affiliate with businesses that make a priority of social responsibility. And companies are responding in a big way. McDonald's, for example, has announced a variety of earth-friendly initiatives. Starbucks is working to develop completely recyclable cups. Ikea, Royal Caribbean, and SeaWorld have banned plastic straws.
If, like Lego, you want to put the power of doing good to work for you, it's possible to do with just a handful of simple, easy-to-implement ideas. Here are five of the most powerful.
1. Create a vision of a better future.
Do you have a clear vision of the future of your business? Do you have a strong culture and set of core values, and do they align with your vision? If not, then that's where you need to start. Create a vision of a better future that is aligned with your company's core values and culture. Anything less will lead to disconnects and confusion between your company, employees, and customers.
2. Walk your talk.
It's not enough to issue a press release and go back to doing business as usual. You actually have to do what you say you're going to do. Remember: Your employees, your customers, and the communities in which you do business are watching you closely. They'll notice right away if you're not walking your talk.
3. Have a strong kickoff then closely monitor results.
Once you create new initiative--like Lego Replay--you'll need to kick it off in a splashy and very public way. Make sure that your employees, your customers, and the public at large are well aware of it. And once you get your program off the ground, monitor results to see if it's delivering your desired outcomes.
4. Keep customer needs and preferences in mind.
Ultimately, whatever you decide to do, it must meet the needs of your customers. Why? Because you want and need them to support your efforts--and your business--as you roll it out. When your initiative reflects your company's values and culture, you'll attract the right people at the right time.
5. Recruit enthusiastic people to your cause.
Create a virtuous circle for your business by recruiting enthusiastic people to your cause, including employees, customers, and the public. The more closely aligned they are with your vision for the future, the more excited they will be to help you achieve it.