NEW CSR IDEAS SHOULD BE GENERATED FROM BOTTOM-UP, NOT TOP-DOWN

Now more than ever, contractors want to be bolder in their CSR efforts and the days of these initiatives being a tick-box exercise are over. Contractors recognise the commercial benefits and housing providers have an opportunity to make better use of this. Could landlords and their suppliers be bolder in creating initiatives together? The answer: absolutely.

If you are still of the mindset that contractors view CSR with cynicism, then you need to look at efforts by the sector outside of contractual obligations. The construction industry recognises that CSR benefits extend beyond just improving communities. For instance, CSR is a fantastic way of bringing employees together and building a positive workforce culture, helping retain talent and inspire workforces.

We have seen CSR projects drive home these positives in our own teams. Our charity initiative last year saw us invest £100,000 across five transformational projects around the UK – each nominated by local communities. The campaign, called the Novus Big Five, galvanised our workforce and engaged local people. It united our employees across the country under a common goal while also supporting our values as a family-owned business.

It’s also highlighted the benefits of working with communities themselves to generate ideas for CSR. The initiatives included a range of projects from a refurbishment of a rehabilitation centre for military veterans struggling with addiction to a new ward at a hospital in Brighton for parents who had lost their child during labour, which gives them the space they need to grieve. The range of worthy projects nominated far exceeded the ideas we would have had alone.

By thinking about CSR from the bottom up and asking communities and contractor teams on the ground where they see the biggest issues in communities can help social landlords to make much greater impacts in their communities.