5 Ways SMEs Can Build Social Capital
Social capital refers to the social ties and bonds of trust that develop from social networks that encourage a harmonious and functional organisation or society.
Why is social capital important?
It is an important indicator of the social health of an organisation or community. It helps individuals and groups to develop mutual trust, goodwill and respect. In the long term social capital developed through weak ties can potentially open up new business opportunities.
Here are some ideas on how SMEs can build and sustain social capital.
1. Strengthen Employee Engagement
Some companies view employee engagement as a hassle. As a result, some employees don’t feel appreciated. When this perception spreads, employees become disengaged. In the long term, this undermines the growth of social capital because employees feel alienated.
2. Deepen Community Involvement Activities
Supporting internal or external causes is a useful way to get staff to participate, volunteer or contribute to community activities. Through such activities, the organisation gets to develop extended ties in its geographical backyard vertically on the supply chain.
3. Build Bridges for Cultural Understanding
In a country like Singapore where over 25 per cent of the population is immigrants, it is very possible to build new bridges (weak ties) with new immigrant from foreign countries. Such ties may grow over into potential opportunities, though that is not their very essence.
4. Recruit From Mainstream and Minority Groups
Through employment of both mainstream and minority groups an organisation is able to tap new ideas, thanks to inclusive employment practices that value diversity. The organisation also benefits indirectly from having a feel for what is happening int he heartlands.
5. Promote Storytelling at Work
Storytelling is a powerful vehicle for informal dissemination of information. Organisations that use stories tend to have common references of endearment. They are also capable of forging stronger ties that go beyond professional needs.