Not so long ago, many companies only reached out to customers and communities when they were on the defensive. If you’d suggested that they had any ethical responsibilities to those communities, they might have thought you were crazy.
This attitude was exemplified by economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman. In a 1970 article for the New York Times, Friedman argued that “there is one and only social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
Over the last few decades, however, attitudes about corporate social responsibility have changed dramatically. Now large companies are creating strategies which tie corporate success together with community success, and even more importantly, letting consumers know how they are doing in meeting CSR goals.
For example, today the majority of Fortune 500 companies produce a corporate responsibility or sustainability report on their operations every year. Some also track their impact on climate, human rights and corruption. Others are also sharing detailed information on their supply chain operations, including where goods are sourced and the conditions in which factory employees work.
I couldn’t be happier to see this happen — in fact, I’m surprised it’s taken so long. Here at T.H.E.M., we take community engagement, transparency and social responsibility very seriously. Giving something back to the community is central to what we do and who we are.
Through our Lovebirds Foundation, we are contributing a percentage of every de-identified health data exchange back into the healthcare community. For example, we are offering financially-troubled rural hospitals free access to data analysis and management consults, in addition to financial assistance to prevent closure. We are also helping clinical researchers and scientists partner on discoverable disease challenges, using anonymous and de-identified health data provided by our partners.
Meanwhile, on a day-to-day level, we put transparency, fairness and ethical behavior first. We hold ourselves to a high standard of integrity and demand that from our partners and associates as well. As we grow as a company, we will make decisions with these principles in mind.
Don’t get me wrong: we know we are preaching to the choir here. Few industries give more than healthcare organizations, whose core mission is to protect peoples’ well-being. Not only that, we continue to be amazed by healthcare workers, who do their difficult jobs with grace, kindness and dedication. We consider ourselves blessed to serve the needs of healthcare organizations and further their mission.
Of course, anyone can say that they are dedicated to giving back, transparent or honest. After all, just saying it that doesn’t make it so. We do hope, however, that you’ll get to know us and see whether we live up to our ideals. We love feedback, the more honest the better.
I look forward to getting to know you and your colleagues as we move forward. Together, we can make big things happen. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me at Collin.firstname.lastname@example.org I’d be happy to talk.
Chief Executive Officer
The Health Exchange Market