Our in-house motto is Principle Before Profit and for us this means delivering the very best in wellness in the workplace and in customer care. But it also means we look outside of our business to see how we can engage with our wider community.
Joint MD Mark Brocklehurst explains why he thinks it’s important to engage with our wider community and also how it helps Sharples Group as a whole.
Without wanting to sound too self-righteous; helping others is the gift that keeps on giving.
I remember many years ago driving in to work at some unearthly hour and stopping when I passed an abandoned car, its occupant was walking away from the vehicle. He had run out of petrol and without money was off to find a telephone box to call his wife. Twenty minutes later he was fixed up and he couldn’t thank me enough, he offered to pay me back for the fuel. I just asked him to pass the favour on at the next opportunity.
It was only a small thing but at the time was a big deal for him and made me feel good about myself. The beauty about random acts of kindness and helping others is the buzz it gives the giver.
The fast-paced modern life has brought with it numerous benefits, but in its wake lies a partially broken society. Helping to re-establish our sense of community has never been more important and so playing my part feels the right thing to do.
What was essentially a personal crusade started to rub off on the team and gradually we would get suggestions on how as a business we could lend a hand. Sometimes this was fundraising through challenges or supporting charities with free printing equipment or offering their time.
A few of the team recently became mentoring volunteers at Warrington Youth Club. This is when the magic of the contagion effect kicked in, with family members and even suppliers of Sharples wanting to get involved and help out.
So how does Sharples benefit is simple, think WIN-WIN. We have a highly motivated and effective team of people who care about what they do and other people.
Surely that’s a great foundation for a customer focussed organisation, it’s in our DNA.
Every year the team take part in events that will push them physically, mentally or creatively. These range from doing triathlons, a European bike ride or even a desert ultra-marathon. We enter corporate quiz games, do a weekly dress down, cake bakes and of course the amazing mentoring support programme.
We also assist local charities with strategic development through non-executive support at board level. This level of involvement leads to a happier, fitter and more focussed band of people who are constantly learning new skills for their own personal development.
We have a small team who look at the numerous requests for support we receive. We like to focus on the North West region and either children’s-based charities or supporting military veterans, but we have no hard and fast rules.
It’s all about being authentic. If the owners or senior team aren’t behind the projects, it can start to appear tokenistic and paying lip service to a problem.
Setting up the internal committee moved it away from being a personal quest and its then that the really good stuff started to happen.
Giving of time and services is just as important as giving money. So, engaging with a charity and looking at areas of pain they have will help identify where you can best add value.
And finally reflect and refresh on the assistance you provide, it’s easy to get stale so treat it like any other business project you would tackle.