The community programme at Lockton is a great example of inspiring and effective corporate community involvement. Could you tell us about it as well as what makes your corporate social responsibility programme so strong?
Just entering its fourth year, our Community Programme sees us partner with a different charity in each year, while supporting the Lloyd’s Community Scheme on an ongoing basis through initiatives such as the current reading programme with a local London school. Beyond our community work, feedback from our employee surveys revealed that Lockton’s Associates expect Lockton to take a strong corporate lead on the environment. This has been reflected in progress on initiatives such as a recycling by waste stream project, which is improving the
company’s efficiency in this area. We have also introduced new measures of environmental performance in regular bulletins to our Associates. Lockton takes its corporate social responsibility (CSR) work extremely seriously. So much so in fact that last year saw the development of a dedicated Lockton website that provides the latest CSR news and measures of progress. It really is the heart and soul of Lockton’s CSR work from this and previous years, and tells the story of our Associates’ passion and commitment to Charity, Community and the Environment.
How do you drive CSR as part of the business strategy through all levels of Lockton?
We set motivating targets, such as a fundraising target, and update Associates regularly on progress against these targets by publishing our Three Measures of Progress on our CSR website. What this means as far as our charity work goes is that in the last four years this target has been massively exceeded: Lockton in the UK has now raised in excess of £300,000 for charity – roughly £500 per Associate. Two thirds of the way into our fundraising efforts for our current Charity of the Year, Help for Heroes, we have already raised over £60,000. We also measure the number of days that our Associates dedicate to community work and constantly look to improve in this area. Everyone has to get involved. I am a member of the Lockton Board, for example, that will be taking part in a project where we will be painting children’s bedrooms for Kids Company.
How do you personally manage CSR?
Lockton’s community programme is overseen by our company’s Board, which I am part of, who receive regular updates at each monthly committee meeting. We have a steering group which meets every six weeks with charity representatives. All of our Associates then get involved in picking the next year’s charity, which helps engender interest – paving the way for exceptional levels of
Associate participation. Our Board has led from the front, showing our commitment by taking part in a grueling charity cycle ride – one of more than 25 charity events last year. Meanwhile our coveted Community Work Award is one of only three we hand out each year. One of Lockton’s core philosophies is Be proactive in sustaining a meaningful corporate social and civic responsibility. I have been delighted by the enthusiasm of our Associates who have given up significant amounts of their time and energy to our community programme. We have raised awareness of reading programmes in the community, cancer through our work with Macmillan last year, and more recently Help For Heroes internally at Lockton and in the wider community amongst friends and family.
When you were president of The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), why did you choose to make CSR a focus? What were the key benefits and impacts of this decision?
I made CSR a focus at the CII because it is the right thing to do. Also, and speaking with my Lockton hat on again, our Associate feedback on the charity programme has been hugely positive. Many Associates have commented to me that an active CSR programme helps generate much-needed positivity and feel-good factor. Our CSR programme is now viewed internally as a valuable recruitment and retention tool.
As a CEO, why do you consider CSR an important item on the business agenda and what advice would you offer to other CEOs seeking to develop it?
It has really helped to energise Lockton in so many ways, both on business levels and of course on social levels. It brings people together and engenders a One Lockton approach. For example, a strong team spirit and a real desire to get involved has more recently seen many Lockton Associates go beyond pure fundraising to take an active role in Lockton’s community work – for example, by spending time on projects in local communities in Hackney, Colchester and Mudchute Farm. Twenty five Lockton Associates are also currently enrolled in a Reading Partners scheme at the Mulberry School for Girls in Commercial Road, London, helping local children improve their reading, conversation, and comprehension skills. My view is that any modern outward looking business should have a coherent CSR approach.