How does corporate social responsibility affect travel recruitment? 

Corporate social responsibility is something all businesses need to think about in the 21st century. Those that don’t are beginning to look like dinosaurs. Listening to news reports about certain huge corporations that have to be forced to pay their staff a living wage or eliminate poor contracts or unreasonable working conditions, makes me even more motivated to do the right thing. Jobseekers are aware of it too, and when they have the choice will naturally choose a company that cares about its staff and society over those that don’t.

But what is that right thing? I was recently asked to update our CSR policy. The basics are that we are committed to treating our employees well, fairly and ethically, and we actively support charities.

Ethical travel recruitment and charity work

The reasons for believing in ethical recruitment and supporting charities are mostly obvious – there is need out there for all to see, and I’m in a position to help. My conscience tells me that supporting my staff and the wider community are the right things to do. I will always speak out if I am made aware of injustice. But doing the right thing does also affect my travel recruitment company in a positive way.

I realise that I and my fellow directors set the tone for our company. If we can show that we believe in doing our bit to make the world fairer and more ethical, that shows our employees that they should do the same, and act ethically in the way they work.

Our work with Reuben’s Retreat always has a positive effect on our travel recruitment team. It’s a charity helping children who have life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families, and assisting parents and siblings who have a lost a child, and is an integral part of Progressive Travel Recruitment. As well as making regular monetary donations, we promote the charity through our network, and gift something to every ‘volunteer of the month’. We also believe in staff development for all, so sponsor the charity’s training needs, recruitment and HR when asked. We love attending their events, such as the annual Reuball, as they’re a great team of people.

Feel-good factor

There is no doubt that supporting a charity provides a feel-good factor among our whole travel recruitment team. Our corporate social responsibility actions also set a tone here at Progressive, and every new team member immediately understands what sort of company we are.

Our team as a whole are a socially minded lot. Of course, we don’t expect them to do charity work outside of the company, but we’re pleased to hear about it if they do. Operations director Tony Macdonald works with Syrian refugee families in Scotland. Claire Castro, co-runs a volunteer-led Child Contact Centre charity which facilitates contact between separated children and family members. She also gets involved with a Christmas shoe box appeal, and a local winter-nights homeless shelter. Fiona Morrison-Arnthal sponsors the education costs of an under-privileged child in Cape Town, South Africa. Nicola Townsend does charity runs for cancer research.

Personal social responsibility

Addressing the core points of Progressive’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy really made me think that I am in a very privileged position to assist on a corporate level. I could also do more on a personal one. When approached by friends and family, I sponsor everything I agree with and make monthly donations to charities close to me. I did approach a local food-bank charity offering to give career advice and development but was turned down as it wasn’t the kind of help they were looking for. This is a tricky one, as I feel that they didn’t understand the reasoning behind my offer, which is that ultimately sustainable charity is far better than just giving. However, I also believe that monetary injections are also required – I know that charities, like my travel recruitment business, have fixed running costs that must be met. But many of my friends roll their eyes when I slip a bank note to a homeless person on the streets. I really just follow my conscience on this.

Personally, I couldn’t sleep at night if myself and my co-directors had no interest in the corporate social responsibility we have towards our travel recruitment employees, the wider community and ourselves. All of us have worked in the travel industry and are well-travelled. Many of us have lived and worked overseas in areas where we have witnessed significant deprivation and poverty, so we are in a great position to realise the difference we can make.

It’s great to hear of the rise of corporate social responsibility, and I hope more and more companies – travel or otherwise – choose to adopt policies that impact their staff and the world in a positive way.