Carillion have been one of the Business Connector programme’s most significant seconding organisations. Since joining the programme in 2011, they have seconded eight of their talented employees to work in local communities of greatest need in England.
So why did Carillion make such a significant contribution and what has the business got from being part of the movement?
The benefits for Carillion
Business Connectors have worked in areas where Carillion have committed multimillion pound investments, such as Manchester Airport City and London’s Battersea Power Station.
The insights gained from the presence of Business Connectors in communities has led to new approaches being taken by the business. For example, Business Connectors have informed construction training provision around these key sites, and also provided insights into likely future training needs to secure a pipeline of local skilled labour.
Development of talent
“This role has enabled me to meet all kinds of people from a variety of backgrounds and to connect public, private and third sector organisations by facilitating a collaborative approach. For me, the ability to communicate efficiently with people at all levels really is key to this role. Working so closely with the Local Authorities, communities and local businesses to create change has given me a clear understanding of where my strengths lie. Through being a Business Connector I have found my strengths are connecting with people, unearthing problems, growing relationships, building trust and influencing in a positive way.” - Jonathan Peter, Business Connector for Burnley
Reshaping national strategy through a local perspective
Charlie Topaz was Carillion’s Business Connector in Wythenshawe from February 2014 until June 2015. Before her secondment Charlie worked on Carillion’s ECO Scheme across Greater Manchester – delivering energy efficiency projects as part of the company’s energy obligations.
Following the Business Connector role, she has been promoted to become an Operational Excellence Senior Manager. This sees Charlie develop and execute a programme of operational improvement projects, delivering efficiencies in line with Carillion’s Service Business Plan across the entire business.
Enhancing key relationships
Carillion have translated greater community engagement and connectivity around projects into clear client benefits. For example: working with their client Argent at the Piccadilly Place development, reducing waste to landfill by diverting valuable resources from their waste stream to charity, an undertaking which enhanced the reputation of both organisations in the area. It also had a clear bottom line benefit, saving money on waste disposal.
Employee volunteering is also often an outcome of a Business Connector intervention in an area, brokering opportunities for Carillion staff and clients to volunteer in the locally.
Countless pieces of research have found that employees who volunteer report improved emotional and physical wellbeing, reducing sickness absence rates. The improvements in morale are also clear to see, along with vastly improved loyalty.
If you are interested in exploring the potential of seconding a Business Connector to BITC, please contact Nishi.Mayor@bitc.org.uk, Head of Recruitment.