October 31 2014 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Norwich-based services giant Norse said its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes helped it secure more than £20m worth of contracts within the public sector in the last two years.
The EDP Top100 company said cash-strapped local authorities were attracted to the firm because its CSR programme could help them achieve their aspirations of employing ex-offenders, people with disabilities or care leavers without extra cost.
It comes as the company said that its 60pc of disabled people that completed Norse’s Project Search training programme secured permanent job after it ended, while 70pc of ex-offenders or the long-term unemployed gained further employment after they left Norse.
Tricia Fuller, group HR director, said many organisations were keen to have effective CSR programmes, but they will only be successful if they try and marry them with their businesses goals.
“We want to get people, whether it’s the long-term unemployed, those with disabilities or on benefits, into work,” she said. “The difficulty for the public sector is that corporate social responsibility maybe the flavour of the month, but you cannot just start doing it over night. You have to build it into your organisation.
“We have been doing this kind of work for a long time, it is in the fabric of our culture. However, we are not only altruistic. We can demonstrate on the bottom line that we get more work within the public sector because of it.
“As result of our CSR programmes we have seen a vast improvement in productivity because we have to look at how we can employ these people successful, which helps to drive efficiencies within the business.
“Part of the reason organisations don’t have a CSR programme as effective as ours is because occasionally strategic leaders think it would be good but don’t marry it up with what they are trying to achieve as a business.
Mrs Fuller said that a lot of public sector organisations are attracted to working with Norse because it can help them achieve their CSR aspirations.
“A lot of public sector organisations are under the cosh and they are trying to drive cost down,” she said. “We are lucky that we have an infrastructure that is not under that kind of pressure so we have got more breathing space to introduce these kind of schemes.”
The majority of the 150 apprentices that joined Norse’s work inclusion programme were care leaves or youngster who is not in the education system or working.
The company also supports employee volunteering, a community fund to support local causes, and a ‘Pro-Help’ scheme, which teams up community and voluntary groups with businesses offering support.
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