Delivering social as well as financial value is increasingly a challenge for employers. Last month the Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Awards recognised which organisations do this best. HR magazine spoke to some of the winners to hear their top tips on how to succeed.
Logistics, manufacturing and consultancy company Unipart won the Bupa Wellbeing at Work Award. Director of corporate affairs Frank Nigriello explained how the firm’s employee wellbeing programme, Unipart WorkWell, helped it scoop the prize.
“As part of the programme Unipart has arranged health checks, gym and fitness sessions, stress workshops, mental health awareness training, stop smoking clinics, and provides all employees with access to a 24-hour helpline,” he said.
“As a result Unipart has seen a year-on-year increase in engagement levels. In addition, the company has also reduced absence and made an estimated saving of £330,000.
“We also lead a group of Oxfordshire business people and representatives from the local authorities who share best practice on improving and promoting staff wellbeing,” continued Nigriello.
“We encourage companies to help employees take personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing, improve their quality of life, and help them understand the impact of their actions and decisions on the wellbeing of others.”
Social housing organisation St Leger Homes won the Championing an Ageing Workforce Award. Its recruitment and retention programme, New Directions, offers retraining and redeployment opportunities, flexible working, and retirement to support those aged 50 and above. Older staff also help new employees learn skills through mentoring schemes.
A spokesman at the organisation advised HR professionals to value the experience and skills of an ageing workforce. He said it was important to understand the challenges that older people may face, such as health issues and caring responsibilities. And to “have career conversations with employees in a supportive and positive way before problems arise”.
Technology implementer iDT Labs won the UPS International Disaster Relief Award, supported by the Department for International Development.
It was recognised for its work in West Africa during the Ebola virus outbreak when it set up payment systems to ensure health workers there were paid. In October 2014 Ebola response workers were striking regularly in Sierra Leone because they had not received wages. iDT Labs worked with United Nations agencies to develop a registration and payment system serving 27,000 workers across the country.
Founder and CTO of iDT Labs Salton Massally said this project prevented the collapse of the healthcare sector in Sierra Leone. He urged other business leaders not to always aim for a profit.
“A project that is solving a disaster or a crisis might appear to be a revenue-losing venture, but in the long run the goodwill generated from such an initiative will greatly benefit the business,” said Massally.
“In today’s fast-driven world it is important for business leaders to approach certain projects from an altruistic viewpoint, rather than looking at the bottom line in every decision.”
The winners of the BITC Responsible Business Awards were revealed on 11 July 2016.