The traditional corporate away days of employees reconnecting and management communicating the company’s wider business goals for the next financial year has been undergoing a change. There is a new trend where firms use team building exercises to deliver Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, thus recognising the importance of giving back to the community locally and globally.

The trend is being seen across a range of sectors. For example, Toyota recently joined Surrey Wildlife Trust for a Christmas-themed coppicing session to reinstate their value of “working in harmony with the environment”. Other companies such as Google, Ernst & Young and BT to name a few, factor in CSR into their team building activities and encourage employees to fundraise and volunteer their time.

With more events companies – such as o3e, Catalyst UK and Kaboura Events – appearing, dedicated to offering community based team events, there is no doubt that corporations have the resources available to utilise team building days to benefit local communities.

HP kicked off its financial year last month with its UK Salesforce event at the Hilton Brighton Metropole. With almost three hundred HP employees descending on the South coast, the company teamed up with o3e – an organisation that runs philanthropic team building exercises – to harness HPs manpower and have a positive impact on the local community.  

Peter Lindsay, Director and Founder of o3e explains the approach in combining companies with communities: “We wanted to create something that fulfilled HP’s objectives for the day and harnessed the investment, energy and intellect to create something extraordinary for the community.”

Pairing up with local charities

The Cedar Centre, a local Brighton-based school for children with special education needs, recently suffered a theft where dozens of bicycles were stolen. Working in teams, HP employees built thirty bicycles from scratch, presenting them to pupils from the Cedar Centre who also attended the event. Bicycles from the teambuilding task were also donated to the Starr Trust, a Brighton-based organisation that helps young people achieve their full potential through education, sports and arts initiatives.

Both charities expressed the benefit of organisations taking local community action. “On behalf of all our young Champions at the Starr Trust a massive thank you to Charity Bike Build. Your gift has brought more smiles than you can even imagine”, stated Rob Starr, Chairman of the Starr Trust.

Lalli Howell, Head Teacher at the Cedar Centre also commented: “Cycling is one of the most popular activities at the school as it engages pupils with a combination of physical activity and learning practical skills regarding maintenance…With HP’s generous offer we can reinstate the ‘bikeability’ module in the curriculum and the after school club, as well as giving more independent travel opportunities to all pupils.”

In previous years, HP has initiated a treasure hunt in superhero costumes to raise money for Children in Need, wrapped 10,000 Christmas presents for carers of Alzheimer suffers, and renovated a lake to better provide disabled access. HP is also a proud patron of the Prince’s Trust Charity.

George Brasher, MD UK&I, HP, added his thoughts on the impact of the project: “This time last year we separated into two publicly traded companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP, our personal systems and printing business. As the world’s largest start up, we’ve set out to build a culture of re-invention and instil new energy, whilst also staying true to our core values including the importance of team work and giving something back. The bike creation project in Brighton is a perfect way to ensure my team work together to create something that will make a real a difference to the lives of young people in the area.”

Incorporating CSR-focussed team building activities into companies’ away days has a positive impact to all parties involved. Furthermore, with 64% of CEOs increasing investment into CSR activities, the trend of philanthropic corporate away days is set to continue.

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