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Reassessing corporate social responsibility in the age of coronavirus

We have seen some great examples of leadership that go beyond their responsibilities within companies. The pivotals
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We have seen some great examples of leadership that go beyond their responsibilities within companies

Pranshu Sikka | New Delhi

The recent developments around the coronavirus pandemic in our country have forced most of us to adapt to a new reality. Private companies like us, at The Pivotals, have been forced to work from home for almost a month now, travel has been completely halted, people are getting jittery and opting for panic buying, migrants are being forced to crowd buses, begging to go back home, and our daily caretakers are struggling with their basic necessities. And amidst all this, the cases of the deadly infection are rising at an alarming rate.

Amid all the gloom, another scene has been steadily unfolding over the past few weeks. In my usual trips to the grocery store, I am now witnessing how instead of rusPhing home after shopping to avoid being exposed to the virus, some people are pausing outside to offer food to the needy. In a time of crisis of global proportions, people are bonding to assist the less fortunate like never before.

A lot of us will be quick to slot such acts of generosity as compassion or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), especially if they are undertaken by bigger companies, organizations, or generally by people who are financially more capable to give.

But, isn’t this just part of a bigger umbrella of basic human generosity?

So, you have chosen to give your maid paid leaves till the crisis eases. But how often do you otherwise ask about their lives, their families, their financial condition, or maybe even assist them every month in some way? So maybe you went out this week and fed 100 people on the street. But how often will you care for them once we are past this tumultuous period of our lives?

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Maybe, the coronavirus crisis will give a different meaning to corporate social responsibility, putting it at the forefront of all individual actions. Or maybe this time period will give more visibility to people or companies who show a real, strong commitment towards helping others. It pays to inculcate generosity as a practice in our daily lives, and not just some one-time act of charity.

Many companies, who are contributing crores towards corona relief funds are otherwise making their employees work in despicable conditions at abysmally low wages. Some others were insisting on employee attendance just before the lockdown in spite of being fully aware of the risks of the pandemic.

So, today if you choose to pay your employees despite absenteeism during a lockdown or help your maid with groceries, it should be a genuine, and routine act of generosity, rather than being an attempt to impress your immediate ecosystem or become a hero on social media.

After all, it is generosity that will help fight Covid-19. We’ve all seen suffering, and we all have empathy and compassion within us. One good deed begets another, and by re-evaluating our good deeds to make them a permanent part of our lives, we might just be able to fend off the virus faster.

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We have been seeing some great examples of leadership that go beyond their responsibilities within companies, and to a much larger scale of impact. Let’s hope that all of us succeed in altering the meaning of being socially responsible, and give genuine generosity our best shot in the long run.

Stay home, stay safe.

(The writer is CEO and founder of The Pivotals. The views expressed are his own and not of Ground Report)

Ground Report के साथ फेसबुकट्विटर और वॉट्सएप के माध्यम से जुड़ सकते हैं और अपनी राय हमें Greport2018@Gmail.Com पर मेल कर सकते हैं।