Our recently launched social value promise ensures the four pillars supporting our business people, partners, planet and community are at the forefront of everything we do.
My role has been changed to focus more on this most important of subjects and I am excited to see the progress we are making across the whole Group;
People & Wellbeing
A recent ‘people and wellbeing’ audit carried out by an organisation on behalf of one of our clients brought into focus just what has been achieved over the last 16 months
As with many organisations we have been caught up in the momentum of the coronavirus pandemic and have had little opportunity to reflect. The audit provided the platform for us to consider and discuss our achievements and approach, identifying potential opportunities for improvement.
Whilst stress, anxiety and mental health issues have always been at the forefront of our people agenda, it is fair to say that the pandemic has affected everyone’s mental health in some way.
The back end of 2020 and early 2021 was arguably the toughest period of the pandemic for many of our employees be they at work, on furlough or working from home. Many were juggling childcare, home schooling and caring responsibilities in addition to dealing with the impact the pandemic was having on their families.
With employees from 61 nationalities, many of whom concerned about family and friends in other countries as well as in the UK, further considerations were the international travel restrictions and the pending closure of the EU Settlement Scheme.
The disappointment of a ‘cancelled’ Christmas and the restrictions coupled with the dreary months of January and February further impacted on employee Health & Wellbeing, already delicate in many cases.
The wellbeing of our people has and continues to be our priority. Incentive has been committed to supporting Mental Health for many years with qualified Mental Health First Aiders across the group and training available to all our employees from personal awareness level upwards. The appointment of Health & Wellbeing Champions and the launch of the Wellbeing page on the My Incentive Hub ensure employees are encouraged to be aware of new initiatives and campaigns, practice self-care, and are signposted to appropriate help and support in addition to our Employee Assistance Program. Whilst our managers and people professionals have prioritised listening and empathy within their teams, we are mindful of the impact on them as individuals too. They have maintained contact with staff impacted in many ways and dealt with varying concerns and challenges regarding the return to the workplace.
For those staff who moved to remote working as an initial reaction to the Government request to stay at home, the reality now is that this is a long-term solution for many, including our own central support teams. Individuals have been able to reassess the commute and work life balance whilst the business determines the social and economic impact of reopening office space. In a remote working world, it is easy to lose sight of the benefits of interpersonal relationships and social interaction that would be experienced in the workplace environment.
As we continue to learn to live with COVID-19 we will continue this way of working; a blended approach with appropriate face to face interaction.
We realise that our partners, both clients and supply chain, have had just as much to deal with over the last twelve months as our business has. Our client partners have been fantastic, and our focus has been on supporting them in providing safe and manageable workplaces for their staff, as well as ours, to work within. We will continue to work with them to adapt the service and resources required to support their businesses and their buildings going forward, ensuring at all times the very best in class service and value.
Our supply partners have been heroic through the pandemic and helped us to maintain and develop our client offering. We have worked hard over the last year to improve the speed and ease of payment as well as ensure that longer term partnerships are formed to maintain security for all.
As already outlined in this edition we are working hard to ensure our future impact on the planet is minimized, working with Planet Mark to measure and manage our carbon impact alongside signing up to the United Nations’ Race to Zero carbon commitment are the foundation stones of our work in this area.
SWC, our window cleaning specialist division, have already achieved a carbon neutral position. As part of this process, alongside the rest of the group, our vehicle fleet is well on the way to being electrified with all new leases and company cars electric only.
As part of a wider focus on our ‘grey’ impact we will be challenging supply partners to match our commitments to decarbonisation through either signing up to Race to Zero or the UK Governments Carbon Business Plan. Our move to more remote working will minimise the carbon used by our teams who used to commute daily to the office. This along with many operational changes on client sites will further positively impact this important aspect of our social value promise.
We always try to play a strong role in the communities we work in. Our Social Value commitment will further strengthen this commitment and ensure that not only do we continue to provide great support to many charities, but our teams will be given more time to support local initiatives directly.
In addition to community support, the best thing we can do to really make a significant impact in the communities we work is to give more support and opportunity to those who need it. Our link with the Shaw Trust will mean we are giving new opportunities to those who most need them. Creating futures for many who have not yet been given a chance but who we know, if allowed, will become a great part of our future and that of the wider community.
How are we doing
To ensure we continue to focus on all four of our Social Value pillars we have introduced a balanced score card to measure our impact. This tool is designed to be managed at a local, national and business unit level ensuring all elements of our business have the same focus on these most important issues.
There is no doubt social value and all it encompasses is going to be the most important part of business life for the next working generation. We are on board early and we aim to be leaders in this field.