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Business Charity Awards: Employee engagement - Winner: Bibby Line Group

For the company that has done most to engage its workforce in helping a charity

Bibby Line Group
Bibby Line Group

First Direct

Royal Bank of Scotland
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Bibby Line Group

In 2010, 271 charities were supported by employees of the Bibby Line Group with £880,000 raised through a combination of employee fundraising and giving and company match-funding. This was the result of a programme designed to encourage employee participation. Eighty-five per cent of the company's 4,100 workforce is engaged in volunteering, fundraising or payroll giving.

The Bibby Line Group is a 204-year-old family business that operates in 22 countries, with its headquarters in Liverpool. Its activities encompass shipping, financial services, floating accommodation, construction and woodland burials.

In 2007, the company celebrated its bicentenary by encouraging employees to support local charities. The success of the year-long event - more than £1m was raised - gave the company the idea of making charitable engagement a permanent feature. The result was the Giving Something Back programme, which is integrated into how the group does business.

Employees are not told what to fundraise for, but are encouraged to support charities that are important to them personally. The causes supported are diverse, including mainstream charities, schools, sports associations and churches.

Although the Giving Something Back programme is not prescriptive about who receives funding, it is built in to how the company is run. An executive in the group team has formal responsibility for running the programme and a full-time coordinator provides support.

The company has established a network of community champions, who work with the Charities Trust. The champions enable employees to hold fundraising events and administer donations. They encourage employee fundraisers to collect Gift Aid, complete sponsorship forms and use online fundraising pages. Participation is encouraged through the website, information on company TV screens, an internal business magazine, email and face-to-face meetings. Each employee can gain company match-funding of up to £1,500 per event and £6,000 a year.

As well as employee-led events, there is also a charity programme arranged by the company. Employees have participated in Children in Need fundraising, planting trees and climbing Kilimanjaro. The company also has a sponsorship deal with the youth charity Fairbridge UK and gives £200,000 each year to support the running of the sail training schooner Spirit of Fairbridge - 30 employees have sailed on the ship.

Stephen Brooker, one of the judges, said the Bibby Line Group was the stand-out entry "because it has high engagement and encourages a wide range of involvement".

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