Updated: Feb 28
2 ½ years ago when Colbe was conceived I had a choice to make. I could either earn a wage somehow and give time to help others, if I was really lucky I may positively influence the lives of 10 people per year. That, in itself, is an achievement that should make anybody proud.
However, I thought bigger, if I could work with businesses rather than direct with the people then that figure could grow exponentially. 10 really could turn in to 100, 300 or more…
The Easy Path
I understand why often, when it comes to CSR, Social Value or volunteering, businesses take the easier path and do a cake sale, a litter pick or build a community garden. All commendable tasks.
Yet when I speak to businesses who have a desire to make an impact in their society, I know they want to do more.
So Colbe was set up to work with these companies, to find out what their barriers may be and them give them the tools to knock them down.
To help turn an idea from the board room into reality by sitting in a room with the people who have to deliver it. The board room that decides they are going to employ ex-offenders will need to get the people who will be working with them on-board. Otherwise, the idea will be the proverbial damp squib and next time an idea is raised, it won’t make it to the second sentence.
One business I arrived at had 18 project managers with folded arms, closed to the idea that had yet again been thrust upon them from above.
I delivered a session that allowed them to securely bring up their fears, anxieties, concerns and disgruntlements. We spoke about backgrounds and what adaptations would need to be made.
By the time I left 15 of the arms were no longer folded (I’ll take that as a good strike rate). 15 of them were ready to buy into the new idea from above and deliver it to the best of their ability, hugely increasing the chances of its success.
Benefits to society
The people themselves – the benefits are amazing, gaining skills, confidence, inspiring others and we’re creating an upward trend.
The family and friends of the recipients also benefit.
To society – obvious fiscal benefits of people being in employment, saving of money through many government systems. Plus, a more inclusive society which brings about many impacts and reduces problems even further.
Good news stories spread and more opportunities are made creating more of an upward/positive spiral.
But how does your business benefit?
Jane Hatton wrote ‘A Dozen Brilliant Reasons to Employ Disabled People’ (a great and inspiring book Jane!) Those reasons are transferrable.
The best businesses will see diversity as an asset rather than something they need to do.
Businesses that are inclusive and diverse have increased productivity, better retention, a more open and honest workplace, better team morale, lower sickness, a better public image, a more creative problem-solving ability within their teams…
Businesses that do compliance-based CSR will find it difficult to survive in time to come, generation Z’ers are demanding businesses with a conscience.
So what do I actually do?
I work with your business and help you be the business you want to be, help you not only take the trickier path but increase your chances of success when you take it.
I give your team the confidence and skills they need to work with young people, vulnerable adults, ex-offenders or any hard to reach group.
I give you the skills to make work experience placements successful and turn them into burgeoning relationships with the school or college.
I give your team the skills they need to ensure your business can take the next step into a social value based on culture and not compliance.
Taking your business and our society into the future.
Even better, the social enterprise side of me means I still get to work with my 10.
So that, is what I actually do…