Last week, I had the honor of attending the Cause Conference alongside the Antis Roofing & Waterproofing team to present on how CSR can support growth for traditional sector businesses. Courtesy of DJ King and the excellent organizers behind the conference, the event was inspiring and provided great proof of concept for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and our team’s progress to date. While many attendees were long term sector specialists with great experience, few people had ties to the traditional sector, which made our presence at the conference feel even more meaningful.
When sector practitioners and consumers think of corporate social responsibility, they envision the likes of Tesla or Patagonia, not blue collar companies. This is a mistake and promotes an incomplete picture of change capitalism. Part of our goal with D3 is to democratize CSR by inspiring other heroic traditional sector leaders who, like Charles Antis, show commitment to skills-based service, compassionate employment models, and internal culture-building.
Beyond showcasing the tremendous success of Antis integrating CSR in its employee engagement, community footprint, and business strategy, we also came as acolytes and hungry students. One presentation that rang true to our team stressed the importance of motive over tactic and moving away from “what am I going to do about this problem towards what are we going to do about this problem.” In that moment, I was very proud to feel part of team where each member understood that to move the needle requires more than one set of hands.
Another presenter suggested that change makers should make it fun as opposed to presenting CSR as sanctimonious or self-righteous. This also rang true, especially as many in the sustainability field often disregard the companies who are truly the most capable of making the difference. Further, Antis, in my very biased opinion, already manages to make its community engagement fun in accordance with its own light-hearted and friendly company culture. As we often say at D3, the biggest immediate ROI proposition from CSR is improving culture and employee retention. It was great to have our sentiments echoed back at this meeting of minds.
One of the most crucial areas Antis experiences return from its CSR lies with its employees, who because of donating their skills to rebuild communities, better understand the value of their unique abilities, which are often overlooked in society. This employee pride forms the bedrock of a company culture where loyalty is all but an absolute due to the sense that Antis not only treats its employees better than other companies, but facilitates experiences that allow any working under its umbrella to act on their best intentions and apply their learnings to solve big problems.
As Charles said, “Company culture is the root of our business success. It’s rewarding to help champion this idea with other companies and reflect on how far we’ve come. I’m so lucky to have such an inspired and inspiring team.”
When COO and President, Karen Inman and Charles made these points at their event, the audience started to really understand the value of skills-based companies. Beyond new philanthropy models or just looking at a supply chain and cause-marketing, Antis can engage in a much more direct, hands-on way that inspires respect. The conference was a fantastic meeting of minds, and I was proud to be on the arm of Antis.