(BPT) - After the past year, many companies are reflecting on their values and how they can make a positive impact in their communities. Finding better ways to interact with the world is not just good business sense, but helps a company become a positive force, leading to a more sustainable, thriving community for everyone.
Collaborating with employees and stakeholders to develop benchmarks that include everyone's input helps motivate all toward these collective goals. It's important to review your company's progress toward your goals on a regular basis.
For example, at Nordstrom, Inc., their 2020 Sharing Our Progress report assesses the company's accomplishments and reflects on the progress they've made against their 2025 goals. Over the next five years, they're working to achieve specific outcomes, creating new programs in response to customer and employee expectations.
Here are five important ways your business can make positive changes.
1. Environmental sustainability
Customers today desire eco-friendly, sustainable products. From recycling and reducing packaging to energy conservation and decreasing your company's carbon footprint, changes big and small help the environment.
For example, in 2020, Nordstrom Made brands reduced their single-use plastics by 13 million units. The company also launched BEAUTYCYCLE, the first beauty take-back and recycling program accepting all brands of beauty packaging at a major retailer, with the goal to recycle 100 tons of beauty waste by 2025.
2. Diversity, inclusion and belonging
Companies wanting to ensure that employees and customers know they walk the walk when it comes to diversity and inclusion must review their products, services, hiring and business practices. Making sure everyone is welcomed within the company is vital to ensuring you're serving the entire community.
One way to demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion is to champion underrepresented brands. Last year, Nordstrom committed to $500 million in sales from Black and Latinx brands by 2025, and they made it easier for customers to find Black-founded brands online by launching a new category.
To better serve all their customers, the company also introduced Inclusive Beauty, a new category featuring a curated assortment of beauty products for everyone - regardless of skin or hair type, tone, complexion or texture.
Additionally, diversity should show up at all levels of a company. For instance, Nordstrom's leadership is 60 percent women and its Board of Directors is 45 percent women, nearly 30 percent of whom are people of color.
3. Giving back to the community
For any size business, there are many ways to give back. From restaurants providing free meals to frontline workers to companies retooling their manufacturing setup to create face shields, giving back has been one of the most inspiring aspects of the pandemic.
Companies can also encourage employees to volunteer by offering days off for volunteerism, or to give to charities by offering a donation match. In 2020, Nordstrom gave more than $11 million, with $3.5 million to 3,615 causes through their employee matching gift program.
4. Supporting employees
Because the pandemic has posed so many challenges, companies wanting to retain talent need to ensure their business is a positive, nurturing place to work, even from home. Supporting employees is not just the right thing to do, it also helps your business grow and thrive.
Nordstrom has worked to ensure that their supply chain employees on the front lines were supported with the safest possible work environments, with enhanced pay and wellness resources.
Listening to employee feedback, the company also expanded flexible work solutions and added new caregiving benefits and mental health resources to help employees balance competing demands of work and family. Flex-work solutions included 'no meeting' blocks, core work hours, reduced/part-time hours and job sharing. To help employees impacted by the pandemic, they also enhanced leave of absence options and introduced new benefits for caregivers - including back-up childcare options and elder care resources.
5. Global responsibility
While for some businesses global responsibility may seem daunting, it's become clear that issues in one part of the world can affect people - and businesses - half a world away. It's more important than ever to be aware of where the products you sell come from, and who is impacted by their creation.
Last year, 32 percent of Nordstrom Made products were manufactured in factories that invest in women's empowerment, reaching 40,000 workers. Making a commitment to further empower women in developing countries is one crucial way to ensure your business is having a positive influence.
Learn more about how Nordstrom is working to make a difference at NordstromCares.com.