Why SMEs and Scaleups might be best equipped for doing good


by GoodUp Info

We all want to contribute and do good. For some people it might be possible to do this during their daytime job. We figured that SMEs and scaleups are set up to ‘do good, best’. Engagement easily reaches around 80% for smaller companies, as the research by MVO Nederland shows.

How can these high numbers be explained? What are the things that SMEs and scaleups should cherish? And what lessons can larger organisations learn from SMEs regarding CSR and doing good? Read on to discover the 5 main reasons why SME and scaleups got the ‘best hand’ for doing good.

1. Intrinsic motivation helps to be successful in CSR

We often see that the founders and management of SMEs have a purpose for their company that they personally feel very connected to. This provides a lot of energy and focus on realising that purpose. In larger organisations, there is a bigger board resulting in more opinions and personal preferences to take into account. One cannot please everybody with a specific purpose or focus, so per definition, the average commitment to a specific purpose is lower in a larger organisation than it is in a smaller organisation. And the larger the internal focus and motivation, the bigger the success of CSR.

2. SME niche-mindset helps to set focussed purpose

Setting a CSR policy and choosing specific focus areas can be a challenge. The larger the organisation, the more departments and opinions should be taken into account. As discussed in the first argument; the larger the group involved, the less personally connected people feel to the policy. So in general, smaller organisations tend to have a more focussed policy on which most people are aligned and engaged. The policy can also be more focussed and specific since the organisational focus of SME is per definition smaller than that of a corporate.

3. Less distractions to guide attention away from CSR

You probably heard of the quote “what you focus on, grows”. This is no different with CSR. What we often see, is that managers in smaller organisations have less office politics to manage and focus on, thus having more time to devote attention to their CSR policy.

4. CRS efficiency tooling easily implemented at smaller organisations

Nowadays, the digital backbone of organisations is crucial and ever improving. Every department has their own techstack, which together forms the digital organisational infrastructure. CSR and HR software is part of this as well. Using software usually results in cost- and time savings due to increased efficiency and effectivity. Millennials expect nothing less than a optimal techstack from their employer, as Forbes explains. But we all know the hassle of implementing new tools and software: it takes a lot of effort. Smaller organisations have a great benefit over larger organisations: their existing techstack is less complex (and often, less outdated as well), thus being able to quickly adapt to the latest technologies.

5. CSR and branding Purpose more trustworthy at smaller organisations

Larger organisations are frequently accused of greenwashing when they’re working on their CSR and/or purpose (download our compact Purpose guide here). Consumers tend to have a distrust towards ‘the big players, who take it all’. There is often a lot of sympathy for smaller organisations, the underdogs. There is a big opportunity to position oneself as the ‘good cop’, the good underdog, shaking things up in the industry.

Larger organisations should be aware of these reasons to increase their impact

So how can larger organisation benefit from these findings? They should be aware of these events happening, at first. Next up, they can try to tackle some of the ‘larger organisation’ issues such as having a better focussed and aligned purpose, and optimising the use of available technology to increase efficiency in CSR processes.

Want to learn how your organisation can take CSR and Purpose into Action? We’re here for you!