How to Conduct a Social Compliance Audit
by Malik Sharrieff, Demand Media
Ensuring your business is socially responsible can affect a lot of people.
Every business in America subscribes to a minimal code of conduct that dictates how employees are treated in regard to wages, work hours and work conditions. Social compliance refers to how a business treats its employees, the environment and their perspective on social responsibility. To ensure that your company meets standards of social compliance, it may be necessary to conduct a social compliance audit.
Review your company’s code of conduct and its code of ethics. Incorporate into these statements a statement of social responsibility. Draft your statement of social responsibility by identifying areas your company can actively contribute to enhance the quality of the internal work environment and the external social environment.
Define your company’s “stakeholders” by identifying every individual or group that is affected by the performance or success of your business. Include employees and staff, as well as consumers, the surrounding community, local businesses and community organizations--schools, churches and other nonprofits.
Identify the social needs that affect all of your company’s stakeholders, including clean streets, crime and vagrancy reduction. Include issues, such as extracurricular programs, funding for local charities and social programs. Consider employee issues, such as flexible employment hours or enhanced fringe benefit programs, including day care vouchers or legal insurance. Address issues regarding pollution, traffic congestion, energy conservation, hunger and homelessness, for example.
Devise a system for identifying social targets, gathering data on addressing an issue and implementing strategies to positively affect the situation and reporting the results of those efforts. Form functional groups or committees to lead the social compliance effort. Head the committee with a rotating membership composed of business leaders from your company, employees and community leaders for example.
Contract with an independent auditing firm that specializes in social responsibility programs; meet with representatives of the audit firm to discuss your efforts and your need for an independent review. Allow the auditor to interview stakeholders and review data regarding your statement of social responsibility and your efforts to progress toward your identified targets.
Allow the auditor to complete the independent verification process and then compare his results with the internal observations of the functional group leading your social responsibility effort. Analyze, collate and report your findings to your stakeholder groups. Inform them of your successes and program weaknesses and how you intend to address them going forward. Continue to conduct social compliance audits annually.
About the Author
Malik Sharrieff is a marketing and business communications professional in New Orleans. He has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, public relations and customer relationship management; over eight years of experience as an academic writer; and as an online journalist for two years.