Social Value Strategy - The Need for a Functional Approach

The most competitive organisations, which have a strong pulse in their operating environment, are developing strategies which have social value at their heart. Fact-finding activities throughout the work-winning professional community report findings that there are synergies between corporate social responsibility and ESG efforts, and social value efforts. This means that, from an enterprise level, a mapping exercise can be done to identify the CSR and ESG efforts which can be aligned to social value. The aim being to get ahead of the development curve to establish a culture, operating processes and policies which enable social value to be offered to customers.

Whilst strategy is critical to shape understanding and guide organisations, there is a view that for social value to be accelerated the most customer-centric organisations require it to be led at a functional level. This includes all functions as part of the corporate ecosystem: commercial, finance, legal, estimating, engineering, production, programme management, supply chain, strategy, quality and so on. All of these can contribute to the roll-out of an effective social value strategy.

What functions contribute the most to the roll-out of an effective social value strategy? Here are my initial thoughts as a conversation kick-starter:

Function Role in Social Value Contribution Category Example
Marketing Provide support to the very start of the customer's experience and touch points with your company - determining how the company's social value strategy is perceived. Must understand our social value strategy in all its nuances in order to ensure messaging is delivered appropriately and makes best use of an organisation’s commitment and achievements. Value creation
Customer insights

The customer has a social value objective to provide support to inspire young people about careers in an industry.

This can be the focus of a social value strategy for the company looking to capture value for the customer with this objective.

Business Development (BD)

Provide direct insights from the customers about their social value mission, hot buttons, challenges and pain points.

Identify and connect with customers on their social value drivers and needs.

Customer insights
Value demonstration

From a customer meeting, the BD lead identifies company X has a skills gap and is not able to provide training to all staff.

The BD lead can share this and the company can respond by giving guidance about training as a value add and include this as the social value strategy.

Account Management

Gain feedback on the social value elements in projects to date – Net Promoter Score associated with Social Value

Customer insights
Continuous improvement

As part of monthly account meetings, the account manager can request feedback targeted to find out about the social value commitment the company is delivering as part of the contract.


Ensure that social value is embedded as part of the contract.

Support robust reporting of social value in live contract delivery.

Support the development of social value solutions during the capture and bidding process, including KPI development.

Value measurement
Value creation

Including social value commitments as a line item in the cost model linked to KPIs. For example, we will deliver 5 workshops for 20 attendees.

Estimate and monitor social value budgets and spend throughout the business winning and delivery lifecycle.

Enable the company to assess the most value for money social value approach and support cost-benefit analysis.

Value measurement
Continuous improvement

Encourage a bottom-up approach for estimating the cost of the social value commitments which are a line item in the cost model.

During the tendering process, support the bid team with the costs of delivery vs return on investment for the customer.

Supply Chain

Assess and develop partnerships with Small and Medium Enterprises to enable the company to offer social value solutions.

Value creation

Setting up commercial constructs which include, as part of the delivery model, contributing to levelling up.

Programme and Project Management

Provide a framework for social value solutions to be delivered. Perhaps a work breakdown structure (WBS) allocated to the social value delivery element of the contract.

Value creation
Value delivery

Preparing a resource-loaded project schedule which allocated dedicated resources to the delivery of the social value commitments.


Provide a standard for the social value solution roll-out within the company.

Gain and uphold ISO44001 Collaborative Business Relationship Certification

Value creation

Provide guidance for a customer to establish processes which facilitate collaboration in the ways of working.

With the support from the above functions, a company can accelerate its progress with the roll-out of a social value strategy. After doing a gap analysis between the CSR and ESG activities in place against the social value strategy the company is looking to achieve, the functions can use that output to shape and agree ways of working to contribute to the successful roll-out of the social value strategy.

Spend a moment considering which of the above functional roles are the most important in your organisation. Can you involve others to improve your social value stance?


Content provided by Georgina Wilson Ayilara

APMPUK: Company Registration Number. 11800662
VAT REG. No. 315 5463 13
DUNS number. 224682499

APMP UK. © Designed, maintained and
Powered by Credible Systems.