The past 5 years have seen a meteoric rise in the importance for businesses to act responsibly. Whether it’s climate change or tax evasion, we know that the public is more critical of businesses that can’t show they have a conscience.
I recently spoke to Rachel Dilley from Town Hall Dental Practice in Brighouse, a practice that has made CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) an integral part of the way they operate, with great results for the good causes they care about, and the team and business it’s self. They have also achieved Gold standard Dental CSR Certification, a simple and effective way to demonstrate your commitment to doing the right thing.
Why is CSR important for your practice?
“As dental care professionals, we want to extend our compassion outside of the dental chair and into our community. Our community get a chance to see us and build rapport, through that it’s easier for them to be able to come to the practice as they relate to us as humans not just dentists.”
Why did you decide to champion your CSR through certification?
“This certification is a statement of commitment. It’s about making a promise to patients that we will be investing in CSR in the long run, not just as a one-time thing or as part of a marketing gimmick.
“Achieving this certification was challenging but rewarding. It makes you take an overview of what you’re actually achieving as a practice, and how you can take things to the next level. It’s great that it is so thorough and comprehensive, as it gives a lot of credibility to those who have achieved it.
“It was definitely a high point when we stepped back at the end of the process and could review everything we did as a practice. Individually, your CSR can be seen as small steps, but it all adds up. It helped us identify areas that we can further improve on, including our environmental impact.
“The team were over the moon to achieve this certification. It made other businesses look at what we were doing, and how they could improve on their CSR. If it makes other local businesses want to do more, we’re thrilled.”
How have your patients responded to your Dental CSR Certification?
“Our patients love it, and we’ve received fantastic feedback from them. It’s not a marketing tool, but it has definitely helped us attract new patients who want to support community-minded businesses.
“Although we don’t intend on actively using this for marketing, it lends credibility to the work we are already doing in the community. We have a CSR policy because we want to give back to those who need it the most. If it happens to bring in more work and more publicity we’re thrilled, but it was never the intention.”
For other practices thinking about achieving certification, they have some advice…
“Set time aside and choose the right team member to complete it. You need a senior member of the team who knows everything about your business and CSR policy. Be sure that you’re taking a holistic approach to CSR, as this certification is not just about one aspect. You must make sure that everything is up to date, from leadership policies to environmental practices through to the development of your staff in their roles.”
Having achieved Gold level certification, the practice will continue to develop what they’re doing.
“In early 2020 we are going to seek charitable status for our non-profit, The Town Hall Foundation, and further develop the work that this organisation does across the UK and internationally. As both the practice and the foundation grow, they will become more independent of each other, and we hope that the foundation can begin to create an identity of its own outside of the work our team do.
“Achieving this certification was challenging and required us to step back and conduct a thorough review of how we do business, how we work in the community and how we work together. It’s certainly worth doing, not just because of the certification, but because of how stepping back can help you see what you need to do as a business and how you can continue to be better in the future.”
You can find out more about Dental CSR Certification and download free resources to help you get started at dentalCSR.co.uk