by Ian Cowley, managing director of www.cartridgesave.co.uk
Below are a few of our top tips for giving back based on what we’ve learnt:
1. Make it fun.
We value our staff enormously here at cartridgesave.co.uk, they are crucial to our business. Therefore, we try to create an atmosphere in the office that people want to work in. It’s fundamental but is overlooked by some companies.
Small gestures such as charity days and fun initiatives are a great way of getting everyone together and they don’t have to cost the earth. We usually do something like this every couple of months – once our staff know that something is coming up, it creates a really nice dynamic and gives them something to be excited about.
If it’s something you’re looking into but have never done before, seek inspiration from upcoming charity events such as Comic Relief and seasonal landmarks. We held a pumpkin carving contest for Halloween and our staff loved it!
The benefits of rewarding staff are threefold; they become more motivated, they are able to spend time with staff from other departments and if the event is for charity, it shows that we care about things that matter to them, especially if the charity is close to their hearts.
2. Offer training.
We offer training to our staff in the form of NVQs and are quite flexible on what these are, as long as they are relevant to an employee’s role. Our developers and IT staff in particular are always keen to further their development, go to conferences and take courses so we encourage this.
As a manager, it’s important to recognise areas of improvement that may benefit from training, as quite commonly, staff will be too shy to ask the question.
3. Get involved in the community.
Demonstrating corporate social responsibility in business practice is another great way to give back, especially to the community.
For example, if you know that a member of staff is coaching a sports team – offer to sponsor it. It doesn’t cost the business too much money and on the plus side having your logo appear on the kit is free advertising!
One of our members of staff is a scout leader. We support them by hosting their website and also, he’s bringing the boys into the office so that they can get their badge in IT.
4. Offer guidance.
Offering helpful tips and advice to people in your industry is a great thing to do. We’ve benefited from the advice of others and it’s nice to return the favour. It may not always seem it, but giving back can take place in the form of mentoring. It’s all about maintaining community relationships which can be valuable to both parties.
There are several ways of doing this, such as speaking at conferences or offering advice articles to industry sites. If you’re not comfortable with the former, utilise someone in your company who is and who you can trust – they are likely to get more enjoyment out of it than you are.
5. See the benefits of giving back.
A common reaction business owners have when being approached with ‘ways to give back’ is that it’s too time consuming or financially demanding. However, once you’ve trialed a couple of the small tactics, you’ll see that this isn’t the case.
What’s more, seeing the benefits from both a business and staff point of view make it all worthwhile.
Ian Cowley is the managing director of the UK’s largest dedicated printer cartridge company – www.cartridgesave.co.uk.