Making a social impact
Around two years ago, as part of our journey to improve our social impact, we held a hackathon for all employees to share their ideas. One suggestion, in particular, gave us the opportunity to make a significant and direct impact in our local community – to form a charity partnership.
Choosing between local charities was always going to be difficult, there are so many great ones doing amazing work! But again, through consultation with our teams, we narrowed the options down to four and invited them to pitch for the partnership. To make the process fair, I created a matrix so we could independently assess the charities against criteria that aligned with our goals and values. Two charities came out on top. By this point we were all heavily invested, we needed someone to step in and make an objective decision. That person was our CEO, Jeff Hayes. He chose Parents and Children Together (PACT) – an adoption charity and family support provider.
We now had our first UK charity partner! Everyone in our UK business was invited to hear first-hand about the great work PACT do to strengthen families and to share ideas around how we could support them.
We quickly got stuck in to all sorts of fundraising activities, from raffles and fun runs to putting employability packs together for the women PACT support through their community project, Alana House.
But, as well as the more traditional fundraising, the legacy of our relationship with PACT has to be the consultancy work we did. One of the reasons we saw potential in this partnership was the opportunity to use our tools and expertise to make a lasting impact for PACT. In a conversation with our Head of HR, PACT mentioned they were recruiting a Head of Adoption. We knew this was something we could help with, so we did.
Then, so that PACT employees can benefit from personality insights as part of their personal development, we invited their Head of HR to attend our MBTI certification programme.
Finally, the most exciting opportunity was the design of a module to support prospective adopters and upskilling two of PACT’s social workers to deliver it. The MBTI-based programme helps those considering adoption to learn about:
- managing their stress reaction
- how their personality type can help them to understand stressors and energizers
- their natural strengths, when these serve them well and when these are over-played and become their “Achilles heel”
Throughout our partnership with PACT, one of the things I’m proud of is our support to the ‘runners up’. We’ve built great relationships with all of them. Cash donations were made towards projects that they mentioned in their pitches and they came to company gatherings to talk about their work. This has resulted in employees spending their volunteer time with them. We’ve also done pro bono work with Restore and they have delivered Mental Health First Aid training for us.
Having come to the end of our 18-month partnership with PACT, we’re now going through the process of asking employees to nominate a new partner for 2020. We look forward to sharing the news with you in the early summer.