Innovation Stories From Around The Globe

The Whole Developer: With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

Jul 23, 2014 10:30:00 AM / by casecase

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last of an eight-part series, where we delve deeper into the Whole Developer concept and each of its elements.

This week, we explore Social Responsibility, why it’s important, and how your organization can play a bigger role. If you missed the rest of the series, click here to check it out]

Throughout our Whole Developer series, a common theme we’ve touched has been improving relationships. Whether it’s developing emotional intelligence to better relate to others, being more productive as a group through better team building or treating yourself better by improving your work/life balance, we’ve discussed how our environment surrounds us and affects us as we relate to one another.

Now it’s time wrap up our series with an often-overlooked subject: Social Responsibility. This also builds on how we relate to others, but this time, from more of an organizational point of view. What kind of role does the organization have in the community, and how does it conduct business? These are important questions to ask, as consumers really care about the answers.

We see more and more businesses, especially those with younger customers (or “users” in our case), more actively doing good for the community. They’re also making sure they are conducting business ethically and not just padding the bottom line with every last dollar. Companies like Etsy, Zady and countless others (including AngelHack with our Code for a Cause initiative) are finding ways to become community leaders, looking to make a lasting impact.

In addition to the obvious benefits to the community, this also benefits the organization. Good relations with consumers, as well as local governments, will only help your business grow in the long run. More community facetime leads to more positive word-of-mouth and social media buzz, spreading the word and building your brand as one that stands for something.


So, how can your organization get into the game? One thing you can do is certify as a B Corporation, or B Corp. These are certified, for profit businesses that meet a certain standard of social good, accountability and performance. These companies are standing out in a cluttered marketplace through a positive vision for better business and redefining business success.

There some other simple things your organization and its employees can do to be more socially responsible:

Make it a company wide effort- Encourage all employees to give back - not just a certain department. Promote the idea of being a single entity, because collected efforts bring your employees together.

Offer educational opportunities- Professional development opportunities are the key to moving your organization forward. While you may not have a department dedicated to social responsibility, you can give each employee the tools needed to create and implement philanthropic strategies.

Create charity rewards and bonuses- Provide incentives for your employees. Create a team-based rewards system around performance - the more teams get involved in a given project, the larger the charity reward becomes. For example, you can introduce rewards into your employee referral program so that employees who bring in a certain number of referrals receive a charity donation in their name.

Establish your company’s social mission- This will serve as a company compass, something other than a balance sheet for guidance. Make it clear, understandable and something every employee can get behind.

Build a community- Changing the world isn’t easy, and can’t be done alone, so build a community around your goods and services. Partners achieve more. A community can be anyone from your customers and partners, to other like-minded companies and the people in your neighborhood. Connect with (and support) organizations that have similar values and ideals, and who provide a clear benefit to your community.

True social responsibility starts from the ground up. When you want to improve your processes, try looking at it from a social responsibility lens. Paying it forward internally has an effect on external efforts, and what you do externally also improves your internal efforts - both as a socially responsible company and a for-profit business.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Whole Developer series. Be sure to sign up for our program starting this fall. We’ll teach you more about social responsibility, and other skills for developers to become lean, mean and well-rounded members of the most exciting companies around. Learn more here.


Topics: The Whole Developer


Written by casecase