This year iProspect UK launched &Culture, the wellbeing and social impact commitment that will see the business allocate and enforce a minimum of 4,000 hours (or two days per person) to be spent for good, outside of the office, helping the community, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Once of the reasons I joined iProspect UK, was because of the two charity days per year that are offered alongside the annual leave allocation (and bonus birthday day, whoop!). In the first few years I was here, I didn’t know of a single soul that used those charity days, and so I had to wonder if they were really a thing. I investigated, and sure enough, not only were they real, but there were tons of different ways to use them. What was lacking though was education, information, and encouragement to use them.
In a recent survey of iProspect UK staff we discovered that the biggest thing holding our colleagues back from using their charity days wasn’t because they didn’t want to, but they didn’t know how to. Enter &Culture. The aim is to take all the leg work out of being a 'do-gooder', by providing a comprehensive calendar of volunteer days, workshops, pro-bono activities, and local charities who need helping hands, so our colleagues can – at any time – find something that is meaningful to use their days on.
Already this year, we have supported colleagues through mental health first aid training days (onsite and outside of the 4,000 committed hours), become trained “befrienders” via Age UK, baked spectrum cakes for Autism Awareness Week, ran marathons for Mind, sky dived for Scope, and raised more than £5,000 for Cancer Research through dozens of other company-wide initiatives. And, we’re not done. We have plans for an all-agency day that sees us tackle a local garden or community centre, to help rebuild, renovate, or reinvigorate with a coat of paint, a hammer and nails, or, well, whatever they need. This will run alongside another “World Cup-type Tournament” after last year’s successful all-agency sports day that saw teams from iProspect UK, Twitter, and Facebook compete for the treasured cup (and even saw England actually bring it home, ironically).
Charity, though good for the soul, doesn’t have to be all about giving money. We are committing time, expertise, and skills where we can, too. We are partnering with local schools to provide invaluable real-world advice on things like CV writing, interview skills, and what not to say to your new boss on your first day through the wider network’s CODE scheme. These skills are things we all possess, and by sharing them we are helping shape the young minds of tomorrow. Terrifying, but better it be us, right?