Grant Thornton: Why we joined Social Good Connect

Grant Thornton: Why we joined Social Good Connect

22 January 2021

Continuing our ‘Get to Know Us’ Friday blog series, we have been speaking to some of our newest business partners about their work and why right now is the perfect time to invest in employee volunteering.

Next up is Lindsay Robertson, Senior Manager, Grant Thornton LLP 

Lindsay Robertson Grant Thornton
Lindsay Robertson, Grant Thornton

Why did you decide to join Social Good Connect?

I was sold in 60 seconds when Caroline described the concept. It’s a no-brainer where everyone wins. Joining Social Good Connect has the potential for us to make a large-scale impact on local communities and wider society.

The idea of giving back isn’t new to us as a firm, but our sustainability team was seeking new opportunities to make a difference, and this user-friendly platform is a simple, brilliant route to doing that. Firstly, across our three Scottish offices, with the potential to involve over 150 staff, and in time, we would like to expand throughout the wider UK firm.

Our aim is to keep social impact high on our agenda and to contribute to communities in new and different ways, on top of our recent fundraising work. This will definitely help us do that.

We also have a young workforce, with a third of our people under 25, and that’s a generation that isn’t just looking for a day job. They want to work somewhere that gives back and they want to work for a responsible, caring employer. These kind of partnerships are invaluable to demonstrate this commitment.

Why have you decided that now is a good time for you to join?

Isolation is a very real issue and the events of 2020 have caused us to focus hard on wellbeing, building morale, and rebuilding connections together. We didn’t furlough our staff, and some departments have been busier than ever, but losing the familiar working environment and connections and daily structure has been really challenging for people.

I’m confident that using the platform will really benefit and engage our employees as well as benefiting the charities they sign up to help. And they can do this in the knowledge they are firmly supported by our senior leadership.

We want to give our employees and partners an opportunity to appreciate their impressive skills in contexts beyond the work setting. I know from a volunteering experience I had in Tanzania several years ago that throwing yourself into an unfamiliar culture and a different type of work makes you appreciate yourself and your skills in a new light and increases your sense of purpose.

Our trainees work really hard to qualify at Grant Thornton and they might not even realise just how many transferable skills they’ve developed and how much they’ve achieved.  Volunteering is a great way to highlight what they have to offer.

What do you particularly like about the platform and the way it works?

The ability to match specific skills and interests to particular volunteering roles really appeals, and to be able to filter down the match to roles that really mean something to an individual. I know for myself that I’ll be looking for opportunities to replace a fulfilling trustee role that finished some months ago.

Equally, some people just want to make a positive contribution of any kind. They don’t have specific ideas, and this platform works for them too. Either way, the ‘search, filter and find’ set-up is powerful, especially when you have limited time and want a meaningful match.

And it’s easy to track, which is important to us. Being able to measure the contribution we’ve made is valuable, whether that’s number of hours spent volunteering or the range of charitable sectors we’ve helped.

What would success with employee volunteering look like for you?

Firstly, we will be leading by example. As well as our younger workforce who are keen to be a part of a culture that gives back, we have partners with over 30 years’ experience and a wide range of skills that could have a huge impact on charities.

I know that everyone in our firm who sees a webinar or joins a meeting about Social Good Connect will ‘get it’ straight away. I think the platform will create a lot of repeat volunteers and I’d expect that to be a high proportion of our Scottish workforce.

What would you say to other businesses thinking of signing up?

Most businesses have a CSR policy but there is the tick box approach, and then there is really embracing it and making it part of who you are as a firm and as individuals. We have always be in the second camp, and this opportunity is another extension of this approach.

It’s those sorts of questions about opportunities, motivation and measurement that companies need to be asking themselves. For a modest subscription fee you have got a bank of potential new volunteers, grateful charities, and a database of tangible information, plus feedback from people who’ve volunteered and from the charities. This is a valuable bank of evidence to measure the impact of your corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

Connecting people, especially now in yet another lockdown, is something we value hugely and I’m excited to roll this out!

Want to get involved?

If you want to find out more about how Social Good Connect can help you organisation measure the impact of your employee volunteering programme then why not give us a call, or sign up to our mailing list for regular insights and advise on CSR and employee volunteering?

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