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Total Societal Impact "The Business of Doing Good"​

November 10, 2022

Corporate Social Responsibility vs Total Societal Impact

Most organisations hold a high value on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). At its core CSR places emphasis on organisations taking responsibility not only for the economic outcomes of their organisational activities but also for their social and environmental impacts. At Protek we have moved away from CSR and instead adopted a lens of Total Societal Impact (TSI).

What is the difference?

Corporate Social Responsibility as a model pursues shareholder value and corporate longevity with social responsibility as a side activity, initiatives are often geared towards meeting client key performance indicators or gaining advantages in tender submissions. Although this approach can create positive social outcomes it often places profit before people and the outcomes are acute with a smaller ripple effect. The Total Societal Impact Lens replaces social responsibility with social impact, the social impact strategy works in unison with shareholder value and corporate longevity and focuses more on how far social initiatives can reach. A real world example of CSR vs TSI is donations vs education, positive outcomes can be achieved by donating to a charitable organisation such as MATES in Construction WA but your impact in society will reach further if you also invest in educating your teams about suicide prevention through MATES training.

Protek adopted the TSI model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic taught us how intertwined the world was and to that end, we needed to better understand our social investments and impacts. It became more evident than ever that people were the heart and soul of our operations and we needed to invest in them at a deeper level in ways that could extend outside of our own organisation. The initial trigger for investigating TSI was due to a TED talk by social impact strategist Wendy Woods which was shared with our Senior Leadership Team (Link Below)

Wendy Woods • The business benefits of doing good

Despite being considered a small company in the wider building industry, an industry that is one of Australia's largest employers, we believe the way we deliver our client's projects with high levels of passion and professionalism is typical of a much larger company. But unlike big companies and corporations, we believe that our employees and contractors should come first, and that profit should be a consequence of good business practices, it should not be the goal. This belief is already why we place our core values of Safety, Quality, Reliability, and Teamwork at the forefront of our decisions, but we knew we could do more in the industry at large and committed to a TSI lens for all future decisions.

Our current TSI focuses on four key areas;

Suicide prevention in the industry through the MATES Blueprint, this initiative promotes and encompasses a culture of psychological safety. Life saving skills are taught to team members that they can extend past their work life at Protek and add value to personal relationships and future roles in the industry even in other organisations.

• Maintaining and actively promoting our vision of being a building company that provides long-term and secure opportunities, this initiative values the importance of "future proofing" our organisation in the best interest of our people. Our team are engaged in the "why" of what we do because they know we make decisions not just for ourselves but for them and their families futures.

Supporting SMES through advocacy work and active engagement and up-skilling (e.g. assisting them to better understand risk assessments and inviting them to toolboxes). Paying respect to our roots of being a local mum and dad business we work to elevate and educate fellow SMES in industry. Initiatives to improve safety, quality and relationships with our vendors mean a better industry for us and future generations.

Leadership and personal values training at all levels of the organisations with the belief that leadership isn't a title it is a way of being. Our team from senior executives to site technicians have worked with human behaviour experts HumanLink to learn and understand their unique core values that drive them in their work and life. We teach skills to communicate and understand the human element of the work they do to help build an organisation that is resilient enough to thrive in an ever changing world by putting people at the heart.

Protek developed a TSI lens organically over a period of the last two years. During this time we have invited subject matter experts in leadership, personal values, psychological safety and organisational culture to facilitate thought provoking conversations and ongoing education. The core purpose of a TSI lens is creating positive social impact in circles not directly in your locus of control as an organisation so the benefits extend beyond our own internal and external stakeholders. A TSI lens can be implemented by any organisation that considers their societal impacts at large, its a mindset shift from what "should' we do .. to what "could" we do. Wether you are leading a large organisation or one of the many SMES in our industry I challenge you to ask yourself.. are we just ticking boxes or are we driving real change?