As a Water Utility company, Wessex Water has a range of commitments to the community it serves, with community engagement and a positive impact being an important part of this.
When Kirsty Scarlett was appointed to the newly created role of Head of Community Engagement in 2017 she was tasked with reviewing the business’s strategic approach to community engagement with a view to this forming the blueprint for the company’s community outreach in its 2020-2025 business plan.
Kirsty’s review highlighted that an active employee volunteering programme could effectively boost both employee engagement and community engagement and so she made this one the main pillars of her revised plan.
Digging deeper, Kirsty understood that promoting volunteering opportunities, accurately tracking volunteering time, and gathering feedback on the effectiveness of her program would quickly become a significant admin burden and hamper growth unless a software tool was used to streamline the process.
Having considered a number of vendors, Kirsty chose Thrive as its software platform for supporting her Employee Volunteering program due to its flexibility and ability to scale and grow with her needs as her program grew.
Kirsty Scarlett talks about why Wessex Water chose Thrive:
We met with Neil to discuss our requirements and had a really useful discussion around how other companies had been using Thrive, which really clarified for us the importance of establishing a system very early on in the development of our volunteering programme. Thrive were really helpful from day one and understood the hurdles of establishing a new programme both for the business and for staff.
Incorporating software support from the inception of their volunteering program and designing the program with the capabilities of CSR software ‘front of mind’ has allowed Wessex Water to quickly and efficiently launch their employee volunteering program. This also enabled Thrive to configure our platform to exactly meet the needs of the business, ensuring the platform ‘fits like a glove’ with no unnecessary complexity.
Providing a ‘professional’ user experience to employees, an intuitive interface for admins and availing of the efficiencies that the automation of routine tasks can bring, enabled Wessex Water to very effectively launch and roll out its revamped Employee Volunteering – the business achieved over 20% employee participation within only 6 months of the program’s launch.
Kirsty Scarlett talks about why having a software platform was critical to launching:
Launching Thrive early in the project enabled us to promote a professional and organised internal platform for staff to choose opportunities, which in turn encouraged confidence in sign-up. By tracking engagement from the very start of the project we have rapidly built solid data to start reporting back to the business and our community partners.
Furthermore, combining a pragmatic approach to feedback requests from volunteers with Thrive’s automated feedback survey functionality has enabled Wessex Water’s Community Team to have 100s of statistics and images on their community impact right at their fingertips. Impact data that would never have been possible to gather using manual processes and the resources available within the team.
Kirsty Scarlett talks about what Wessex Water does with feedback and impact information:
At the end of the very first year of our volunteering programme, it’s been really helpful to collate take-up and feedback for our reporting internally as well as supporting the launch of the next year of the project. We are a small team so automated sign-up and collection of feedback means we still have time to support staff volunteers in other ways.