BLOG: How effective communication and technology helps drive employee engagement and the delivery of positive social value

At Eric Wright Group, we believe that everyone would like to:

  • contribute towards social value
  • support the communities in which they work
  • make a difference

So, the question is:

How can we, within the FM business achieve social impact through employee engagement?

Within this article we will explore:

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

Eric Wright Group is 100% owned by the Eric Wright Charitable Trust and is 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, delivering local sessions with over 90% of the workforce in attendance.  These roadshows served three main functions:

  1. educate employees about Eric Wright Group’s heritage
  2. help them understand their role in creating profit for a purpose
  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
  2. many more wanted to get involved but had no idea how to go about this.

Following the roadshows, Eric Wright FM (EWFM) invested in an app called ‘Blink’.

Blink is an employee app, designed with the remote workforce in mind, which has proved to be useful, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when the workforce was dispersed even further.  It provides a platform which facilitates multi-way communication and is inclusive of cleaners, engineers, facilities managers, back-office staff and senior management.

Every EWFM employee has access to Blink as they can access the app from any device, whether it be mobile phone, tablet or PC.

This has created one, connected and engaged team.

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

  • booking a volunteering day
  • volunteering to be a Careers Ambassador
  • creating a community event
  • applying for match funding (from the Eric Wright Charitable Trust)

Through Blink, further educational resources have been published, such as the ‘Creating Profit for a Purpose’ employee video and ‘how-to’ guidance.

One of EWFM’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, involving the implementation of 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 to cover 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.

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