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Does anyone have any experience with a social audit?

Social Audit

Answers

Anonymous
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor) |

David,

Can you clarify what type of social audit? I'm guessing you don't mean the Indian Government audit.

Cheers

David Smith
Title: Manager
Company: Private
(Manager, Private) |

Our company is considering a social audit (internal). I'm no expert, but I believe it to be a formal look at the company's impact on the environment, employees, customers, society and touches on things like transparency, energy and resource usage, worker pay/benefits/well-being, etc. The idea, which I have no experience to judge one way or another, is that it goes well beyond profits and pr, but in the end may improve both as by-products.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Sounds similar to what we call culture. Is the company culture healthy? We do an annual culture survey (which comes from Zappos.com story).

It asks questions about all areas of the business to every employee. We ask a simple question "What is the least favorite thing about your job?" And one year may different employee's said vacuuming the sales floor. Upon asking clarifying questions we learned each store used a cheap little sweaper that wasn't really a vacuum and didn't pick up heavy dirt very well. So we invested a little money an very little effort into getting every store an actual vacuum (I think they were $40 at Walmart) - they were the happiest we had ever seen!

Is this along the lines of what you are thinking?

David Smith
Title: Manager
Company: Private
(Manager, Private) |

Hi Christie... yes, I think it would be all of that plus things like:

- Is the company being ethically run?
- Is it's management being good financial stewards, ensuring the long term viability?
- What sorts of pressure does the company exert on the environment?
- Is the company behaving fairly to employees, customers, suppliers, management, investors, etc. ?
- How transparent and shared is company information with employees, the public, etc?

I believe the audit measures where we stand on a wide variety of issues and then that prompts discussion of how we can improve.

Having never gone through one, I can only imagine how this might go.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I would also add the topic of being "green" and the relative importance this is to the employees as well external constituencies where you have operations.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Exactly what we do with our Culture Survey. I recommend performing them; you learn a lot about what things your company is doing really well at and areas you can improve upon. Sometimes there are easy fixes (like the example I mention above) and sometimes you witness a major area of opportunity and may require staffing changes.

You have to make people feel safe about taking it and stress there are no repercussions for answering honestly. Ours is done by department/store and we do not ask for names.

We do, however have what we call a Store Readout where the results and answers submitted good and bad are read to the team where further discussion takes place digging deeper into the results. That can be tricky, but fun!

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