The Role of Businesses in Creating Healthier and Stronger Communities
If you live in the U.S., then you know that healthcare coverage isn’t a simple issue. Most Americans rely on their place of business to provide them with health insurance, while the less fortunate who live in lower-income areas have to rely on their local institutions for healthcare. With the current healthcare administration problems, such as nursing and physician shortages, Americans are facing a healthcare crisis that will take innovative strategies to solve.
One way to address this problem is by engaging the private sector to make improvements locally. In fact, some of the most successful major corporations already engage in local outreach programs and initiatives to improve their communities. Not only will community development boost your company’s image, but it will give you a competitive advantage.
How Businesses Strengthen Local Communities
Local businesses are an essential part of any community, and if managed correctly, can have a big positive impact. Not only do they provide community members with a valuable good or service, but they also strengthen the local economy by providing jobs. A business that wants to be recognized as caring and philanthropic will make an effort to get involved. Here are the main ways businesses create healthier, stronger communities.
- Workplace Environment
- Community Involvement
- Local Jobs
Every business is responsible for the safety and well-being of its employees. Health and wellness should be no exception. Companies should value healthy lifestyles and promote health initiatives that incentivize workers to be healthy, such as: health interventions, encouraging exercise, health screenings, and workplace wellness policies. Additionally, companies should make an effort to improve the environment and reduce pollution within their communities.
For example, the Healthforce Initiative by Johnson and Johnson aims to give their employees the ability to plan and follow through on their own health and wellness plans, by paying part of the cost for gym memberships, yoga classes, and healthy grocery shopping. The program also keeps track of employee business metrics, like performance and promotion.
SMEs are a big part of the communities where they live and do business. Living and working in the same place gives small businesses a unique perspective, they can directly observe how their decisions affect community members. There are many ways for SMEs to get more involved in their community. Usually, this involves the owner or employees donating some of their time or money to benefit the community.
For example, they could sponsor local sports teams, collect donations for a food bank, or raise money for a homeless shelter. Any effort that your business makes to improve the community will be noticed and appreciated. Be sure to promote your philanthropy on social media, so that your charitable actions will get as much attention as possible.
Another way SMEs can get involved in the community is to work with local NGOs (non-governmental organizations). What’s nice about this approach is that in most cases, the NGO will already have a plan, all you have to do is show support, such as fundraising or promoting their work at your business. For example, a business might partner with an NGO to improve the health and wellbeing of high-risk community members, such as the elderly, people with disabilities, or people with chronic illnesses.
Walmart takes part in a program called One for Good, partnering the corporation with local community organizations to improve community health. Their cooperation is dedicated to improving community health by motivating members to make better, healthier choices at the supermarket, to include food, quitting cigarettes and other tobacco, and sticking to one’s medication.
Whether by teaming up with a local community organization or spearheading an effort themselves, community involvement allows businesses to achieve more of their goals and also builds their image as a caring member of the community.
SMEs create jobs for their local communities. Instead of travelling to another city every day, people can work in the same city that they live in. Customers who frequent local businesses are also doing their part, supporting the community members who work there. If a community has a strong commercial center, then local workers will most likely also support other local businesses. For example, they might get lunch at local restaurants, deposit money in local banks, or shop at a nearby store.
The more local jobs a community has, the more likely the money is to stay in the community. Workers and customers alike will earn and spend their money in local businesses, creating a more tight-knit community.
Small and medium businesses are started by entrepreneurs. By starting a business, the owner is creating their own future, instead of relying on others to do it for them. Entrepreneurship fosters innovation and wealth, and is a main way for lower-class individuals to move to the middle and upper classes.
Some communities even make business development centers to pass on entrepreneurial skills to community members. Local banks may also lend a hand by providing special loans to help entrepreneurs get their business started. Initiatives like these encourage entrepreneurship and local business growth in the community.
The quality of local businesses is a big part of what defines a community. They provide members with valued products and services, as well as employment, and can make initiatives to improve the health and growth of the community. However, if a business isn’t sustainable, then it could do more harm than good to the community. A new business that springs up one day only to vanish the next doesn’t contribute to the community but detracts from it by wasting resources that successful businesses could have re-invested into the community.
This is why it is so important to make sure your business is sustainable and will succeed. Sustainability courses are an effective way to do this. They provide your business with the tools to make sure it will continue to grow and succeed for years to come. SustainOnline can provide your business with sustainable education at affordable prices. Visit our website to learn how to make your business more sustainable.