No organisation operates in a vacuum. Rather, its interdependencies are many and manifest.
Every business owes its success both to internal factors – clarity of purpose, drive, talent, and creativity among them – and to externalities such as well-run local and national infrastructure, a vibrant supply chain, and an educated and motivated population. Leaving a legacy is to understand the value of these accumulated benefits.
To give back is an acknowledgement of what went before and a desire to create the conditions that will allow future generations to prosper. To put it another way – making a lasting difference to the prosperity of local communities and surrounding environments are important expressions of a company’s values.
Social value matters. It's visible in the efforts being made in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures designed to mitigate the spread of the virus. Lockdown is of course an inhibitor of economic growth and has been seen to impact the vulnerable most – younger generations, those with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and ex-offenders. In recognising this challenge, the UK Government is bringing together employers, local authorities and providers to deliver tailored support – a tangible example of social value in action.
As many others have observed, we will not be defined by the Covid-19 crisis, but instead by our response to it. And that’s the point – social value is measured in years, not months. What we do today will leave a lasting legacy tomorrow.
At Capita, we play two key roles in the legacy agenda: one internal, the other external.
First, we strive to live by the values we espouse. We want to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve, and a working environment in which no-one feels excluded. In delivering this goal, we turned to our colleagues first and listened to their experiences. From those focus groups and a company-wide survey, we have developed a strategy built on four pillars:
- valuing difference
- delivering gender parity,
- embracing a local geographic dimension, and
- using data intelligence and reporting to keep these goals on track.
The last of these is helping us, and others, identify where investment is required, and highlighting the roles and skills that are needed to reflect the diversity of our communities.
Our second key role is in offering services designed to support others as they seek to make a difference. This is most clearly seen in our efforts to tackle employment barriers; the supplier ecosystems we create that connects government with innovation and expertise; and extensive employability capabilities. Combined, our employability solutions and unique ecosystems of local delivery are essential in getting Britain back to work and supporting the nation’s economic recovery.
Social value is not only a path to differentiation, it is a means of avoiding opportunity costs. Delivering social value allows public and private organisations to identify brilliant would-be employees who would otherwise be denied the training and development they need. Build a vibrant community, and it will continue to thrive. Demonstrate a path to success through easily identifiable role models, and you create a conveyor belt of class-leading talent. Invest in the local community, and you automatically help create social cohesion and stronger economies.
In short, leaving a legacy is a team effort. It shouldn’t and mustn't be left to others.