We spoke to Aberdeen-based Craig Paterson-Cheyne, Global Sustainability Manager at Wood, a global leader in consulting and engineering in energy and the built environment employing 40,000 people.
We’ve just launched our new global Sustainable Development Goals strategy, group wide. We deliver project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets in 60 countries, and we need to identify ways to give back to our communities in ways that reach beyond monetary donations. Each of our business units will decide on the best ways to deliver these goals locally, so a meaningful tool like Social Good Connect has the potential to be part of company-wide movement that makes significant community impact.
As soon as I heard about you from a contact at CFINE in Aberdeen, and the impact of employee volunteering on charities, I wanted to learn more. My goal was to help open the eyes of our employees to the variety of physical and virtual volunteering opportunities available to them, enabling our people to give their time and expertise in applying their unique skillsets in ways they might never have thought of.
We’ve started with our Aberdeen employee base, where we employ over 1500 people, to test the platform in action and how easily we hope it will be for employees to engage. If successful, we hope to expand this further south, with the opportunity to engage a larger portion of our UK workforce.
The fundraising activity among our employees and engagement in Wood’s employee-matched funding programme understandably took a dip during the pandemic. We wanted to widen the lens and look at how else our people could be supported to give back. I could really see the power and potential of Social Good Connect, both in helping charities quickly and easily and enabling our employees to support and connect with their communities through more than the donation of funds.
Since launching our sustainability programme in 2018, we’ve been on a journey to connect a network of sustainability champions and teams in each of our locations. I’d like to see the platform become a useful tool for parts of our UK business in helping connect those local teams to the opportunities on our doorstep.
At Wood, we have several employee networks that enable inclusion and diversity across our business; I feel that this collaboration can help us better connect employees on community activities that support these network aims and allow us to better share impact stories with the wider Team Wood.
I’d like to explore how our work with Social Good Connect can benefit both parties beyond the numerical take-up of volunteering roles. It takes time to engage people and increase registrations to the platform, however I think we have a real opportunity to share the real human stories of success both among our employees and external audiences. We’ve already learned about a great relationship between one of our engineers and Ace IT, which helps retired people improve their IT skills.
It’s about tapping into people’s passions, but first you need to identify what they are. Being signed up with Social Good Connect gives people the green light to get out and help people outside their workplace role. The overall simplicity of the concept really appeals, and the fact that you can tailor your profile, so that if the matches you see aren’t quite what you’re looking for, you can request more relevant volunteering roles just by tweaking your profile. The convenience is just as important as the willingness and as a tool it’s easy to use, so there’s no barrier to getting involved.
I especially like the regular updates each user receives on new volunteering roles, as new charities join the platform. I think it’s an important way of retaining momentum, awareness and enthusiasm once people have signed up and scanned their initial matches.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained! People often don’t realise the different forms volunteering can take until they’re presented with a tool like this to help them match their interests with a cause. We had capacity to help, we thought it was a brilliant concept and we could see that it would give people new and interesting ways of achieving personal satisfaction and helping the community.
Interested in finding out more about how Social Good Connect can help you create a company wide strategy for social impact? Get in touch with our Business Engagement Manager, Sarah, to find out more!
Or join our community here to receive monthly insights, advice, and exclusive social responsibility resources straight to your inbox.
Caroline has made it her life’s work to help people make more meaningful decisions to support their communities and she’s learned some golden nuggets along the way!
So, join Caroline each week for her ‘Thursday Thoughts’ on all things people, planet, philanthropy or purpose all served with sprinkle of fun (but unfortunately no prosecco) to inspire you.