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The Importance of merging the Social World with the Corporate World

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Merging the social world with the corporate world should be a significant aspiration for all businesses, says Emma Wilson

In this months (1) Facilitate Magazine: Overview | LinkedIn Social Impact Director, Emma Wilson discusses how businesses really can improve society while, at the same time, accepting the fundamental truth that we all have employees to support and wages to pay in our own houses.

During the last year, my first at Pareto FM, we’ve tried to answer this question by merging the social world with the corporate world

We’re working together to solve problems that exist in the communities we serve and using our corporate pillars and values to have a greater impact. It’s an ongoing process but here’s what we’ve learned so far.

1. There is funding out there and help to do it It’s simpler than you think to get the money. The government is happy to assist if you have a solution; they are an extension of a larger client with more people. We helped them out by signing up with the Department for Work and Pensions and rolling out the Kickstart Scheme throughout our whole business. We took on 30 young people – who would have been on Universal Credit – at the start of the year for six months and ran that period like an intensive course in facilities management. We received approximately £250,000 and used it not only to pay wages but to also to support Mary’s Charity, assisted us by providing wellbeing and life lessons, and structured work/life sessions combined with continued 1-2-1 counselling support.

We further improved this offering using the government’s Access to Work Scheme that offered a further £50,000 in funding. We did this in partnership with Exceptional Individuals, a Social Enterprise with more than half of their staff being neurodivergent. They did most of the work. From this group, the majority have gone on to fulltime work in their preferred field and the others are pretty close to finding permanent employment.

2 Don’t forget to support your internal teams While you’re helping out the communities you serve, you’ll need to look after your internal teams as a priority. During this scheme, we identified new processes that we will keep and continue to improve. We improved our safeguarding and policies as you can’t help others if you’re not at your best. We had a lot of lessons learnt. We made use of the affordable safeguarding programmes already out there.

We partnered with the National College and, although ordinarily used for the educational sector, they provided plenty of transferable lessons that many of the staff have applied to other parts of their lives, such as leadership and governance, mental health and wellbeing, special educational needs and disability, etc.

3 Safe spaces aren’t just for therapy sessions

Our team meetings became safer spaces of ongoing support. I’m still not sure if it’s due to the open induction we adopted for our Kickstarter’s Programme or that the younger generation is just more open, but what they brought to our team meetings has spread across so many other meetings.

Some of the Kickstarters had attended the same schools, lived in the same areas, and had never engaged with each other, but during these meetings people became friends and their problems were shared and solved by their peers with support offered.

All in all, the main message coming out of the initiative was, we built communities within communities


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