Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Social Responsibility - Not an Oxymoron

Views on Social responsibility and connection to Quality -

Social responsibility is not an oxymoron.
For a company in health insurance industry Social responsibility means -

Promoting the health and well being of the local community (employees and the society)
Providing affordable healthcare by charging the lowest possible premiums
Improving the accessibility of the healthcare by including all eligible providers
Providing high quality healthcare
Demonstrating ethical behavior (paying claims in a timely fashion, not following discriminatory practices in offering insurance products, Detecting and preventing fraud, abuse, waste in the healthcare delivery systems etc.)
Provide opportunities for employees to volunteer for social causes (blood donation, renovating of schools, educating society about healthy life style etc.)
Empowering employees and provide learning opportunities so that they can be more productive at the workplace

All of the above are directly related to quality practices within the organization and quality professional play an important role in educating and obtaining top management commitment to make these happen. Quality managers must work with top management must make sure that company’s mission, vision, values, goals and objectives reflect these. Being socially responsible improves the credibility and trustworthiness of the organization and this leads to long-term sustainability. Corporate profitability and social responsibility is not a zero-sum game. Looking at this from the top management's language of money, quality professionals need to explain this in terms of prevention, appraisal and failure costs.

As an example, how does a quality manager sell to the top management that health insurance company must make efforts to promote the health and well being of the local community (employees and the society).

Healthy population leads to lower healthcare costs. Healthy employees lead to more productivity and reduces company's administrative expenses. Organization benefits, employees benefit, and the society benefits.

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