More than ever before, people are showing concern about social issues. They’re holding themselves, their governments, and businesses accountable, believing it’s up to everybody to do their part for the betterment of society. 

For businesses, it means a strong focus on social responsibility is expected if they want to attract customers. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s crucial to understand the key social trends that have become important, including:

  • Inclusivity.
  • Environmental consciousness. 
  • Charity donations. 
  • Equal opportunities. 
  • Data handling. 
  • Fair wages. 
  • COVID-19 regulations. 

What are social trends?

Social trends are ideas and activities that societies think are important. Generally speaking, the idea with social trends is to create a better and fairer society for everybody. 

Specific social trends can vary wildly, but they normally involve addressing some sort of social injustice or an inherent flaw in the way a society operates. 

For businesses, social trends can’t be ignored. There’s now an expectation for all businesses to behave in a socially responsible way in every aspect of their daily operations. While following social trends can be an opportunity for some good PR, ignoring them now leaves businesses open to criticism. 

Inclusivity

Inclusivity means representing the interests of all people in products and marketing material. Specifically, the idea is to push back against the discrimination previously directed toward underrepresented groups. 

These are some examples of modern businesses considering inclusivity: 

  • Fashion brands use plus-size models in their marketing material.
  • Phone cameras recognise darker skin tones. 
  • Stores and restaurants offer vegan and gluten-free options. 

Environmental consciousness 

One of the most common social trends – because it affects everybody – environmental issues are at the top of the list for many businesses. 

Businesses can make environmentally friendly decisions in almost every area of their daily operations. For example, businesses can:

  • Use recyclable materials for their packaging. 
  • Use fuel-efficient vehicles for shipping. 
  • Source local materials to reduce carbon emissions. 
  • Install energy-efficient equipment in their offices. 

Charity donations

Giving to charity is the perfect way for a business to support a good cause and stay in the public’s good graces. Most businesses donate to a charity that’s related to the industry because it’s something their customers are likely to care about. For example, a pet food company might donate to the RSPCA. 

Equal opportunities

Under the Equality Act 2010, discrimination in the workplace and wider society is illegal, including during the hiring process. 

To show commitment to the spirit of the act, many businesses are now going further by actively championing protected groups in the workplace. The trend is a good idea because, while it protects against outright discrimination, the act hasn’t necessarily done as much to help progress members of protected groups in their chosen fields. 

For example, a business might commit to hiring a certain percentage of people from a protected group, or they might make an effort to progress a certain number to senior roles. 

Data handling 

Wikileaks seems like a long time ago now, but the after-effects can still be seen today. Without going too much into the history of it all, the leaked information revealed a lot about how big tech companies use customers’ data without their knowledge.

Now, when you visit a webpage, you’re normally asked for consent regarding how the site can use your data, giving you an option to reject or accept it – that’s because of Wikileaks. 

While data is still collected from customers all over the world, we’ve seen greater importance placed on transparency regarding how the data is collected and used

Fair wages

All UK employers are legally obligated to pay their employees a national minimum wage. That said, the national living wage (the amount needed to live reasonably comfortably) is actually higher than the national minimum wage. 

After the issue was given some national attention, many people considered it unjust to pay workers a low minimum wage. As a result, a lot of businesses committed to paying all their staff the national living wage, regardless of age. 

As of 2021, the national living wage is mandatory for workers who are 23 or older, but some businesses have committed to paying the fairer wage to all age groups. 

For businesses, it’s an easier sell when it comes to finding staff with most people are looking for higher wages. But it’s also a big draw for customers who care about social trends. A way for businesses to show their commitment to fair wages is to get certified by the Living Wage Foundation.

COVID-19 regulations

Of course, the most recent social trend is more of a public health concern. The effects of COVID-19 forced many businesses to rearrange their entire business structures and implement new regulations to keep their customers and employees safe. 

While many of these regulations are mandatory, there are a lot of other things businesses can do to show their commitment to making life a little easier during the pandemic. 

For example, some businesses offer:

  • Paid furlough to their staff. 
  • Remote working to reduce social contact. 
  • Refunds to customers if their service was interrupted by COVID-19. 

Make your financial admin easier with a simple app

Your business can’t make a positive social impact unless it’s financially stable, and that requires accurate financial management. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. The app will save you time and hassle, but you’ll also use less paper thanks to these innovative features:

  • Invoicing on the go –Create and send professional (paperless) invoices to your clients from one simple app. 
  • Receipt capture – Don’t bother keeping receipts. Just take a snapshot with your phone and all your expenses will be automatically organised into HMRC approved categories. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.

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