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“EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING THAT’S BIGGER THAN THEMSELVES. YOU’D BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT JUST A FEW HOURS OF YOUR TIME CAN HAVE.”
CONVO: So, the NewVoiceMedia Foundation. It’s done a lot of good, but how is it linked to the wider company?
ROHINI: For us, the foundation isn’t a standalone aspect. We pay attention to embedding and integrating the foundation across wider areas of the business — it’s integrated into much of what we do at NewVoiceMedia. We offer two paid days every year to people in the business to volunteer, and we’re flexible with that. You can take it as an hour, or as a full day.
C: And does the foundation affect the business, or vice versa?
R: The foundation has become a core part of our employee culture. We’ve really found, by making these opportunities available, that people really want to devote their time and skills to worthy causes. Our employees really do have a genuine interest and want to provide support to the community.
C: So it sounds like there’s been a big take-up within the business. Have you seen a notable change in day-to-day company life since the foundation started making strides?
R: For me, it’s just seeing the impact that it’s had on the employee population in terms of engagement levels. It has had a big influence, because there are so many foundation events. And some of those events will put you outside your comfort zone, support new connections and give you the opportunity to work with people you may never have interacted with in the company before, fostering emotional engagement across the board.
C: Which events or campaigns have struck you as being the biggest successes for the foundation?
R: The ‘Right2Read’ program was designed to help children to read, because reading should be a right for every child; not a privilege. Groups of us go into schools and read to kids around 7 to 11-years-old. I do it myself, and it’s brilliant to see the power you can have by donating just half an hour of your time. We’ve got Code Club also, that has been designed to get kids aged 9 – 11 learning how to code and finding out more about tech. And these programs build confidence — not just for the children, but also for volunteers. When you start, you might be a little nervous, but as you come towards the end of a program, you’re more confident in communication, leadership and collaboration.
C: But surely it must be difficult to measure success for the foundation? How do you quantify and gauge how well a program has performed?
R: We actually no longer share how many hours people are contributing. We’re not interested in numbers. Instead, we’re interested in storytelling, emotive connections and meaningful impact. This can’t always be captured in numerical data alone. Our CEO and Leadership share stories about the highlights and stories from the foundation. And, from the people’s reactions in the room and the new ideas and events that are generated, we can feel our success.
C: How has the foundation influenced other parts of the company?
R: We’ve started working towards improving employees’ own wellbeing and mental health. We supported CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) by holding a ‘Curry and Chat’ event, where we encouraged people to start conversations with each other that could develop into powerful discussions around mental health. And that’s really had an impact on building an inclusive workplace that we can all be proud of.
C: It’s a success, it seems. Do you hope other companies will follow suit and make more of an effort to use their influence for the good?
R: It has definitely shown that, when you shine a spotlight on foundations, it really catches. It’s the snowball effect. Our foundation is employee-led and wouldn’t exist without the passion and enthusiasm of our people, so I feel we’ve shown that there is genuine employee interested to tap into — and it’s not corporate pushdown. It can really organically happen in a business.
C: So what is it about the foundation that appeals to people on an individual level? Why is everyone so interested?
R: Everyone has a personal reason. Everyone has a connection and everyone has something that’s bigger than themselves. You’d be surprised how much of an impact just a few hours of your time can have. We tend to get wrapped up in our personal, immediate problems, and when you get involved in volunteering, it helps you put that in perspective. And we don’t have dedicated charities, so we’ll help our volunteers with whichever charity matters to them. We all have this potential to make a massive difference, and it doesn’t need to involve days and days of our time. You’d be surprised how far your time goes.
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