Put a Bit Back

07 April 2010

When the unguarded secret of the General Election date hit the press yesterday I’m sure I was not alone in bracing myself for the inevitable flow of promises, platitudes and ugly, puckering, baby-alarming leaders rampaging around the country.

There will be some funny moments to come I’m sure. I always look forward to the Mayor of London’s appearances, despite their anachronistic irrelevance to anyone north of Milton Keynes.

But they’re all the same aren’t they? When the expenses scandal grew last summer the snouts in the trough seemed to be impervious to party allegiance. And did you know that Harriet Harman went to the same school as George Osborne? No surprise really when you think about it. 

Lord Mandelson’s department is looking forward to continuing its support for small business, which will be warmly appreciated if the increase in National Insurance hits as planned.

But while the circus comes to town let’s not lose focus on our own businesses and our own communities. And so I want to give some publicity to an organisation that has supported both for 27 years.

Business in the Community emerged from the rubble of the Toxteth Riots in 1982, when a handful of businessmen came together and decided that they had a wider role to play in society. They understood that healthy High Streets need healthy back streets.

The charity, spearheaded by the Prince of Wales, has the aim of mobilising employees to work in the community. And the employee’s entitlement offers something more than the day job. Projects can range from refurbishing a community centre to organizing a social activity for the elderly.

There are also individual volunteering opportunities such as going into schools, for example, in supporting a primary school breakfast club. And this type of community work can aid staff development. It gives your people the opportunity to flex some managerial muscles in a safe environment away from the sharp end of the business.

Times have changed and the best employees can no longer be wooed by an attractive salary and job title. They increasingly want to work for businesses whose values are aligned to theirs. You can keep your people engaged and promote a vibrant team ethos by seeing what you can do outside the office or factory walls.

Public opinion has changed towards the role of business in society. Some higher profile companies like Enron have fallen by the wayside having got it wrong.

So while Gordon, Dave, Nick and the others convince us how they can help us, why don’t we help each other? Have a look at www.bitc.org.uk.

Stuart Wilkin writes for Insider.   www.insidermedia.co.uk

Posted  07 April 2010


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