There’s more to work than work. That’s why everyone at Hive gets two days per year on top of their annual leave to spend giving something back. So this year, I decided to do a bit of rugby coaching at my local club—and I even managed to rope in another Hiver to join me.
More and more organisations are stepping up their contribution to their communities by giving something back. It’s what we call Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR. CSR is often a strategy that encompasses everything an organisation does to give back, but on an individual level, many CSR programmes include volunteering days for employees.
And the best thing for leaders is that, along with helping the community, it also comes with a load of other benefits for the organisation: it can be a great team-building exercise, it can boost employees’ mental wellbeing, it proves to your people that you care about more than just performance, and it’s also good for your brand.
But although we offer two CSR days as standard to all employees, as we entered the summer months of 2022, I was surprised by how few of these days had been utilised across our business.
I know how compassionate our team is, so it definitely isn’t because they don’t care. It’s most likely because of the admin that goes along with organising these volunteering days. So as a director of Hive, I felt it was my responsibility to lead by example and hopefully encourage more of our employees to get involved and give something back.
What can you do?
There are tons of charities and kids’ clubs that are crying out for volunteers to help. For me, it was my local Rugby Club in North Shields, who were offering children aged 5-11 the opportunity to attend a free Summer Rugby Camp.
Some of the kids who attended the week-long camp hadn’t been part of a rugby club before—and in some cases had never even held a rugby ball. One of the aims was to attract new kids down to the club to experience the fun of picking up a new sport. And the reason for making it free of charge was to help parents out through the summer holidays, where many people would be struggling financially with the cost of living crisis and rising prices.
But to do that, they needed coaches. And that’s where the volunteers come in, with all sorts of different rugby backgrounds (or lack thereof). In my eyes, it was the perfect opportunity to do some good in my area and pass on some of my own knowledge and passion to the next generation of rugby players.
So, who else at Hive could I get to join me in making this Summer Camp a reality? Step forward, Hive’s heroic Launch Manager, Harry Wright. Harry had played rugby back home in Leicester at a decent standard until he broke his collarbone—and he’s also just a top bloke—so I knew he’d be a great addition to the coaching team.
All I had to do was to paint a slightly abstract picture of what coaching over 60 under-11s would be like…
What do you get back?
By the end of the Summer Camp, and despite a few stiff limbs and a bit of sunburn, Harry and I had had a brilliant time coaching the kids and helping North Shields Rugby Football Club make their Summer Camp plans a reality.
For me personally, I love that we were able to give those kids the opportunity to do something they might never have done otherwise, and put on a fun week for them to remember over their summer holidays. Knowing that the club managed to make this all happen without charging a single penny also fills me with immense pride.
CSR days are great for keeping us grounded and remembering that life is short (one of our company values), so it’s important to experience and contribute as much as we can—it’s not all about work! I’m proud to be part of an organisation that gives its employees the chance to have a positive impact in our communities. And if you’d like to be part of it too, then give us a shout. We’re always on the lookout for talented people to join the team!