Newsletter September 2014

At Three Hands we help businesses address their objectives in ways that benefit society. Here’s a quick update on how we’ve been doing that over the past few months.

Featured themes: Customer volunteering; social mobility; community engagement at the back office; vulnerable customers; a new model for CSR.

Volunteering – but not as you know it

Employee volunteering is going from strength to strength in a growing number of organisations – but what about the concept of engaging customers in community projects? That’s exactly what Nationwide did – and we helped them to make the pilot ‘Side by Side’ programme a great success. You can watch a short film about it here.

Transforming the lives of young people – a law firm’s approach

We’ve been working with Herbert Smith Freehills since 2012 on two social mobility programmes, PRIME and Networked. We help to shape the experiences the young people will have and we facilitate the activities. The programmes achieve real depth of impact, over a long period of time, with students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Engaging with the local community – in Poland

Business is global but community investment is local. We recently helped a major investment bank to develop a strategy for community engagement for its Centre of Excellence in Poland. We worked alongside the Citizenship team to understand the objectives of senior management for community engagement, conduct meetings with established and new charity partners, and develop a roadmap for implementing the new strategy and a framework for measurement and evaluation. The result is a local team that feels empowered to run a great programme designed to engage, motivate and retain employees, in what has become a competitive recruitment marketplace.

Understanding vulnerable customers – and how charities can help

Legal & General is in the midst of developing a vulnerable customer policy – a response to those customers who are, for one reason or another, in need of particularly special levels of service, in both practical and emotional terms. We have carried out a major research project amongst front-line customer-facing staff to establish what makes customers vulnerable and the specialist skills and knowledge needed to support them – much of which can be gleaned from third sector organisations. Indeed, tapping into charities’ expertise will be the focus of the next stage of this forward-thinking project.

In brief

We have againcase-studies-bl-2014 helped British Land to make their annual community day a huge success. It involved 198 employees, 21 projects and 17 community partners. Have a look at the case study on British Land’s website.

Again with Legal & General, we gave their Group HR team an insight into the implications of employing people with sight loss, through a project with Thomas Pocklington Trust that involved delivering employability workshops for blind and partially sighted people.

And finally, tearing up the old model of CSR

I’ve written an article for Guardian Sustainable Business arguing that it’s time to tear up the old model of CSR in which community engagement is often seen as a ‘nice to do’ – or worse still, as the ‘poor cousin’ of CSR. Instead we need to view community as an invaluable route in to understanding and engaging in all other CSR and sustainability issues. Have a read and feel free to comment!

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