Thriving Communities means three key things to us: supporting education and employability, working with enterprise and social entrepreneurs and being big hearted – aiding causes our colleagues are passionate about.
We remain committed to volunteering our time to support local causes, donating 7,158 volunteering hours in 2015.
Why is it important?
Our actions are guided by major social and economic issues, including:
- Youth unemployment – In 2014, 73.3 million young people worldwide were unemployed;
- Work readiness – A 2014 survey of 3,000 firms found 9 out of 10 believed school leavers were not ready for employment. Over half said the same about graduates;
- SMEs – Globally, small and medium enterprises account for around 90% of businesses and over 50% of total employment; and
- Social entrepreneurship - 31% of social enterprises operate in the top 20 most deprived UK communities.
How do we tackle the issue?
We approach Thriving Communities in three main ways. By being Big Hearted, we look to create positive social impact wherever we do business and, through initiatives such as matched funding and time off for volunteering, encourage our colleagues to support causes they feel passionately about.
Our two other areas of focus are managed in a more structured way. Teams are encouraged to partner with schemes and organisations that allow them to share relevant knowledge and experience.
So through our Education and Employability programme we assist young people to develop the skills and confidence required for the workplace. Read more about what we are doing in the UK by reading our blog story here.
Supporting Enterprise and Entrepreneurship includes working with social entrepreneurs to influence local community issues in ways we otherwise could not. This also provides our people with the chance to build their own skills and generates invaluable insight into the thinking of our SME customers.
Within this framework, each operating country has the freedom to address the issues that are important to their community. The CR team plays a coordinating role, sharing examples of best practice and group-wide case studies. We track progress through quarterly updates provided by each territory’s CR representatives and, every year, conduct a review to confirm our results.