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  • 3 minutes
  • 09/02/2021

Effective communication and technology – a guest article from Eric Wright FM

Guest article for Social Value Portal from Eric Wright FM on how effective communication and technology can benefit the delivery of social value.

At Eric Wright FM, we believe that everyone wants to:

  • Contribute towards social value;
  • support the communities in which they work; and
  • make a difference.

So, the question is:

How can we drive social value through employee engagement?

Within this article we’ll explore:

  • Eric Wright FM’s approach to employee engagement; and
  • how this helps us to improve the level of social value within the places we work.

Eric Wright FM is part of the wider Eric Wright Group, which is 100% owned by the Eric Wright Charitable Trust. We are a commercially focused business, with a social purpose. Our business model is unique and creates a culture where delivering social value is part of our DNA.

You may think our model and culture automatically drives engagement in social value initiatives… it doesn’t. Like many other service providers, our workforce is geographically dispersed. This makes employee engagement a huge challenge.

Last year, Eric Wright FM launched a series of Employee Roadshows. The company delivered local sessions, with over 90% of the workforce in attendance. These roadshows served three main functions:

  1. To educate employees about Eric Wright’s heritage;
  2. help them understand their role in creating profit for a purpose; and
  3. discuss how we can be more inclusive of remote and diverse teams.

On conclusion of the roadshows, we learned that:

  1. Many employees were already doing things within their community. Yet, their activities were not captured; and
  2. many more wanted to get involved but had no idea how.

    Figure 1: Eric Wright Employee using the employee app

In July 2020, following the roadshows, Eric Wright FM invested in an app called ‘Blink’.

Blink is an employee app, designed with the remote workforce in mind. It came at an ideal time, when COVID-19 had dispersed the workforce even further. Now, it provides a platform which facilitates multi-way communication. It’s inclusive of cleaners, engineers, facilities managers, back-office staff and senior management.

Every employee has access to Blink. They can access the app on any device, whether it be mobiles, tablets or PCs.

This has created one, connected and engaged team.

However, Blink only provided an accessible communications platform. Eric Wright FM’s in-house digital data team then created a brand new suite of apps to host through Blink. For example:

  • Book a Volunteering Day
  • Volunteer to be a Careers Ambassador
  • Create a Community Event
  • Apply for Match Funding (from the Eric Wright Charitable Trust)

    Figure 2: George Lilley and Lucy MacNeill helping out at a local foodbank

Through Blink, we have also published further educational resource. Such as our ‘Creating Profit for a Purpose‘ employee video and ‘how-to’ guidance.

One of Eric Wright FM’s biggest employee advocates is Lucy MacNeill – a business analyst within the Digital Data team. In her own time, Lucy is a trustee of the Westview Community Association. Lucy’s role involves implementing local initiatives for educational, social, health and personal development.

Lucy recently applied to the Eric Wright Charitable Trust for a community grant. Her application was successful and she managed to secure £5,000. This grant covered the running costs of the facility and more, for a whole year!

Throughout the pandemic, Lucy has also been working with local authorities to secure food support for the community. For this, she achieved the ‘High Sheriff of Lancashire Award’ back in November 2020. A true testament to her endless dedication and support for people in need.

Through effective engagement, our employees now understand how they can make a difference. This was made possible through an effective leadership culture, strong internal communications and digital business tools.