How immersive Corporate Social Responsibility can make the (working) world a happier place

Immersive CSR
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A staff survey we ran a few years ago highlighted that among other internal programmes, our staff really wanted to do more for charity.

We already have a Charity of the Year programme, whereby the whole team spends time and money supporting a cause local to Milton Keynes – but it was clear from this feedback they wanted something bigger and more long term.

When it comes to good causes, people like to get their hands dirty and make a tangible difference. But what was perhaps most surprising, was just how much they said it would make them feel happier at work if they knew they were making a difference. So, we decided to give them that chance.

Setting up the Memusi Foundation

In 2015, our team set up a partnership with the Memusi Foundation, a charity founded by Matthew Norton with the vision of providing education for the estimated 30 million children in Africa who have never set foot in a classroom. From there, our team agreed to support the Memusi Foundation for the next seven years, both financially and with our people.

Since then there have been a total of four trips and now, within the next five years, our entire staff will have the opportunity to travel to Kenya with the Memusi team to help build schools. This ambitious project also involves our team assisting the teaching staff at the local schools directly involved.

And in fact, one of the greatest achievements of the latest trip was the Medical Camp, where our team helped to coordinate a camp where people could access free healthcare. This was the first time the Memusi Foundation had run such an event in Kenya, and over 250 people turned up on that day.

Within the next five years, our entire staff will have the opportunity to travel to Kenya with the Memusi team to help build schools.

In addition to making such a positive change to the kids of Kenya through the trips and sponsorship programmes run through Memusi, we now have our own internally elected committee working to send out a container that will be transformed into a library, thanks to staff book donations. As part of this donation drive, the committee will also be using donations to create Feminine Hygiene Packs to send out to help young girls within the region.

As a result of the great response from the internal team at Personal Group, plans are now in place to support three trips per year, with 6-8 staff volunteers each time. Our work with Memusi is now set to continue until 2022 – with plans to hopefully extend it further into the future.

Multiple benefits

The latest group of volunteers who made the trip to Kenya was made up from people across all areas of the business, each with a different skill set and personality type. This trip offered them a unique opportunity to work together, to get to know the wider team and themselves in a completely unique setting. As a result, what we’ve see from each group as they return is a much stronger bond and a greater level of commitment, both to their teams and the company as a whole.

What this means for employers is a simple and cost effective way to get your staff involved, connected and motivated behind a cause, which is turn will make them stronger and more productive as a unit and more loyal to the company brand. It’s simply a case of putting down the cheque book, getting your hands dirty and starting something which people can believe in.  

What we’ve see from each group as they return is a much stronger bond and a greater level of commitment

After all, if your employees don’t believe in your company, they certainly won’t be engaged with it.

What this highlighted more than anything, was that internal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives don’t just have to be a team day out collecting litter or painting the cricket ground fence. If done right, they can provide employees with a fantastic opportunity to get involved with something they truly believe in and ultimately enhance their connection with their colleagues and the employer who enables it. This in turn, can organically grow into internal extensions of the project and further develop an internal sense of connection and community among the team.

About Katrina McMahon

Katrina McMahon, Marketing Manager at Personal Group

Katrina is a Marketing Manager at Personal Group, looking after internal communications and social media for the brand. She is also on the organisation’s Charity Committee which works to raise funds for the Personal Group Charity of the Year, as well as the Memusi Foundation.

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