Employee Ownership Day 2021 - Torchbox is #BetterTogether
This year’s Employee Ownership (EO) Day theme is #BetterTogether, reflecting on why business is better together for everyone: the individual, the business and the economy.
We’ve taken a look back over the past year, using the themes drawn from the EOA members feedback. The year hasn't been without challenges but we’re proud of what we’ve achieved in our second year as an employee-owned agency.
When it comes to mental health & wellbeing, we are #BetterTogether
‘We’re all in this together’ is certainly a sentiment that chimes with the pandemic experience, but while we’re all in the same storm, we’re not in the same boat.
This is something that we've acknowledged at Torchbox, as we’ve learnt to navigate the situation and support each other.
From keeping in touch with gifts through the post, to hosting virtual events such as meditation, art classes, boxercise and mindful drawing, we (thanks to our health and wellbeing voicegroup) have tried to find ways to offer support, stay in touch and bring people together.
When it comes to delivering good business practices, we are #BetterTogether
In this year’s Best Companies Top 100 (small) companies to work for, we leapt 30 places to number 37. As well as ranking 10th in the top 40 agencies!
This result meant the world to us, because it’s all based on feedback from the team. We did particularly well in the leadership, fair deal and giving something back categories. We’ll never rest on our laurels, especially in areas such as wellbeing and personal growth, which we know are particularly important to our team.
When it comes to economic resilience, we are #BetterTogether
Like many companies, we used the government's furlough scheme because several projects were put on hold as some clients furloughed large proportions of their staff. However, by August 2020, it had become clear that we were adapting to the changing circumstances and were generating enough work to stay busy.
We don’t regret using the scheme in the face of such uncertainty, but when we understood that we didn’t need the scheme to protect jobs, we decided to pay it back. We made this decision as an employee-owned organisation, with overwhelming support from the team.
When it comes to promoting diversity & inclusion, we are #Better Together
This is an area of focus for us that is important to our clients too.
We've revised our recruitment processes, to try to find ways to reach people who might not usually apply for our roles, as well as changing the application process itself to ensure inclusivity and remove opportunities for unconscious bias. We’re also working with the charity Babassa who partner with businesses and young people to address inequalities.
We previously had a ‘civic engagement and diversity’ voicegroup, which we’ve now split into two, creating a focused group for ‘diversity and inclusion’.
The moment you start looking at how to make a workplace or the wider sector more inclusive for one group of people, you uncover unexpected benefits for other groups. Using blind CVs without names or qualifications in recruitment to help remove racial bias also makes jobs more accessible to people who didn’t attend university. Improving our quiet room facilities for breastfeeding mothers also creates a space for people to pray or meditate.Iona Twiston-Davies, Senior Digital Account Manager and Diversity and Inclusion Voicegroup Member
As employee-owners, as a business and as a sector, we are #BetterTogether
One of the great things about being in the agency sector is that despite us often being pitted against each other in competitive pitches, it’s a supportive space. This year particularly, business leaders have offered advice and support and shared generously in many online forums.
Within Torchbox we try to nurture the feeling of being a business owner and leader. We share important information about the company openly with the team; from the financial performance which is published to the intranet quarterly, to decisions about whether to take on clients, to consultations like the one about repaying furlough. To feel and behave like owners, we need to have an understanding of the issues the business faces and sometimes play a part in the decisions. Consultations don't happen every day, of course, often the team is represented in decision making by our four elected trustees, but we hope that everyone feels more engaged and better informed about the business than they did two years ago and that bit more like an owner of Torchbox.