Our social impacts 2007-2008
We are a ‘lifestyle business’; all our employment arrangements try to find the balance that individuals need to strike between the various parts of their lives: earning fees, developing professionally, meeting family commitments, pursuing leisure interests etc. We pursue employment relations based on mutual trust and respect, without reference to issues of gender, race, sexual orientation or otherwise.
During 2007-2008, Brook Lyndhurst had about twelve members of staff at any one time. We employed fifteen different people overall. For specific tasks we relied on a handful of experienced freelancers in sustainability research, who we have come to know through years of collaboration or as previous staff members.
We offer a number of employee benefits which – we believe - contribute to a more sustainable society and frankly, make work more enjoyable. For example, we provide facilities for cycling to work, free annual eye tests, free consultations with an independent financial advisor and we have introduced a contributory pension scheme (up to 3%). For people with – or thinking of starting - a family, we offer a maternity and paternity policy (in excess of the legal mandate), child-friendly working arrangements and we have newly introduced childcare vouchers. We also hold an annual social day (where we partake in an activity voted for by employees, e.g. picnics) and an annual volunteering day (where we all spend a day helping a local community group, e.g. painting). Both are held on company, not personal time.
To thank staff for the hard work they had put in over Spring 2007, we encouraged them to leave at 4pm on Fridays over the summer months of June, July and September.
Health & safety
We take our Health & Safety Policy seriously, because it seriously impacts our staff. We review our risk assessments annually in accordance with guidelines from the Health & Safety Executive. No health & safety incidents were reported in 2007/2008.
Management & communication
The Directors are employees of the company and management is conducted openly, with a strong emphasis on clear, concise, regular communication. Whilst accepting the responsibilities of executive decision making, we engage all employees in the management of the company and encourage them to develop their careers, as well as to pursue their own marketing and research ideas. Systems are in place to ensure the regular and effective review of company - and employee - activities:
- The Monday morning meeting is mandatory for all employees, ensuring regular feedback and information sharing.
- Formal reviews (held twice a year) provide the opportunity to discuss personal advancement within the company.
- Informal mentoring sessions allow employees to air views and ensure that the company is meeting their needs.
- Project close-out sessions are held to share knowledge & skills and to learn from both positive & negative issues.
- New staff members are assigned a ‘buddy’ (for the first three months) to provide feedback and answer queries.
- A presentation and discussion of the company’s financial performance is held at the end of each financial year.
- An annual Strategy Day allows discussion of more strategic company issues and shares the success and failures of the past year with the entire team, as well as looking forward to the coming year.
We believe that skills, training and professional capability are linked, and are the shared responsibility of the company and the employees. We agree an individual training plan with each employee at annual reviews, which is monitored through quarterly mentoring and mid-year reviews. As a small company, a significant amount of training occurs in-house and ‘on the job’ where employees work closely with more senior staff. In addition, Brook Lyndhurst encourages employees to broaden their knowledge and contacts by attending and participating in conferences, seminars and networking events and by making contributions to public debates. Brook Lyndhurst employees spent 18.5 days on external training in 2006/2007.
We do, however, recognise the inevitably blurred boundary between the intellectual capital accumulating in the mind of each employee and the capital accumulating within the Brook Lyndhurst collective. We respect the fact that each individual may wish to pursue intellectual endeavours that are directly or indirectly relevant to the activities of the company.
We pursue projects that are, in our judgement, concerned with the development of a sustainable economy, society and environment that are of practical value to our clients, whether in strategic terms, research terms or project-specific terms. The majority of our work is won through competitive tender, with the following aims:
- To develop long-term relationships, based on delivery of high quality work not high-powered sales pitches.
- To work with high quality clients, who have integrity and who are genuinely interested in understanding and progressing sustainability.
- To deliver our work in an applied, succinct, direct fashion.
- To maintain close links with clients during project work.
- To conduct our project work according to the agreed fee- and time-schedules; and if for any reason this proves impossible, to bring any difficulties to the attention of our clients at the earliest possible opportunity.
- For clients to pay us in a timely fashion and to give us clear feedback.
To date we have not collected any formal feedback (e.g. by conducting a client survey), although this remains an aim for the future.
- 100% of contracts were completed in accordance with contract terms in 2007/2008.
- In 2007/2008, we worked on 25 projects; 7 carried over from 2006/2007; 18 started in this period, 8 of which remain to be completed as of July 2008.
We participate in a wide range of networks with a variety of different people and organisations. At all times, we hope to undertake our working relationships fairly, openly and sustainably, i.e. by making suppliers and partners aware of our business principles, to ensure our suppliers understand what we are doing and why. For example, we buy our stationery from a local, independent supplier.
The Directors participate in a number of membership organisations, and we encourage other employees to do the same. Once again, we intend for these relationships be conducted within the overall principles of Brook Lyndhurst. In 2007/2008 we were members of the Resource Recovery Forum, the Royal Society of Arts, the Market Research Society, the London Environmental Justice Panel and the London Social Enterprise Network.
We have a policy covering our charitable/community engagement, with a view to contributing a fixed percentage of time/profit to “good causes”, reviewed annually. In May 2008, Brook Lyndhurst employees spent a day volunteering locally.
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