Creating Social Impact at Oscar HuntPosted on the 25/4/18 by Drew Corby
Social Impact Results
We are now more than six months (half way) into our Social Impact Program at Oscar Hunt here are some of the key findings at staff level from our mid-point evaluation. More qualitative feedback from a range of program stakeholders is included later in this article.
In mid-2017, Purposeful commenced piloting our year long Social Impact Program with Oscar Hunt. The goal of the Social Impact Program is to embed principles of purpose-driven business and social impact, helping an already strong performing business to do better for all its stakeholders- by doing more good.
Oscar Hunt are one of Australia’s most reputable made-to-measure men’s tailors based in Melbourne and Sydney.
Purposeful are an ethical consultancy and B Corp, helping businesses to improve culture and performance, by integrating purpose-driven approaches to work and creating, measuring and communicating social impact.
Our Social Impact Program with Oscar Hunt focuses on addressing Altruism, Wellbeing and Growth as key priorities that form part of Purposeful’s framework for impact.
The intention was to identify and deliver a range of programs, initiatives, events and opportunities in these areas and to measure how this effected staff attitudes, motivation, engagement and stakeholder outcomes over the year.
Key indicators of improvement would be gains in staff learning and development, work culture, better health and wellbeing and greater community involvement and contribution. Mike Davis, Founding Director of Purposeful stated:
“The goal of the program is to enable Oscar Hunt to make a strong community impact, whilst also making key gains in wellbeing, growth and giving internally”
Homelessness in the Melbourne CBD
Oscar Hunt is based in the thick of Melbourne’s CBD on Hardware Lane. Known for their premium range suits and impeccable client-centric experience, owner Chris Edwards (Managing Director, Oscar Hunt) is now looking for that next level of engagement within the broader community.
Chris sees the Social Impact Program as a the perfect vehicle to increase Oscar Hunt’s community involvement-
“I see it as a real responsibility of all business to get involved in the community at large to bridge the gap where there are government shortfalls”
Located in Melbourne’s ‘top end of town’, Oscar Hunt staff felt it is very difficult to ignore the stark contrast of the visible homelessness on the streets. Chris felt that there was so much opportunity, but also a clear failing to help the most vulnerable people closest to the business.
“The gap between those with opportunities and those without is rarely more visible than when you step out of a tailoring showroom and see a person sleeping in the street”
Partnering with Lighthouse Foundation
In August, we launched the first stage of the Social Impact Program that established a values-based partnership between Oscar Hunt and Lighthouse Foundation – a Not-for-Profit that provides youth homelessness services.
The partnership with Lighthouse was selected based on a shared vision to bridge the gap between sectors to empower both at-risk young people and the broader community.
During this process we talked to a range of service providers and felt that Lighthouse were the best match for Oscar Hunt given their flexibility, innovation and openness to collaboration. They had also strongly demonstrated their service model and ability to create positive social impact.
Together, Oscar Hunt and Lighthouse Foundation have the capacity to provide knowledge, skills and purpose for young people experiencing homelessness and the Oscar Hunt team.
Storytelling and Work Experience Activities
Our initial engagement piece for the partnership featured a young storyteller from Lighthouse Foundation. This storytelling session shared a deeply personal account of homelessness with the Oscar Hunt team and brought a highly complex and multifaceted topic down to who is at the core of this issue.
Moved by narrative, the Oscar Hunt team have since designed a work experience program geared towards upskilling clients at Lighthouse Foundation and to improve employment outcomes for those young people.
The Social Impact Program has been strongly championed by Oscar Hunt staff, who have played a key role in developing and implementing new ideas to ensure the program succeeds and has a maximum buy-in and impact.
Integrating Mindfulness at Work
Using our framework for impact (shown above) and assessment questions we identified that Oscar Hunt needed support in staff wellbeing, given the intensity, focus and energy levels required to optimise the client experience.
Alongside the partnership component of the program, Purposeful introduced regular mindfulness meditation before work hours with mindfulness instructor and Founder of Humans Being, Jeremy Neumann, promoting positive health and mental wellbeing and regulating productivity in the workplace. Jeremy describes mindfulness as:
“about focusing our awareness into the present moment, with acceptance and without judgment of our experience”
The individual and group benefit according to Jeremy is that:
“we learn to be truly present & connected with ourselves, others & our environment”
This presence and openness can help us to develop genuine relationships in our personal and professional lives; enhancing authenticity and productivity in our actions and behaviours. Increased body awareness improves proactive self-care, which in turn facilitates enhanced wellbeing and can reduce burnout and staff absenteeism.
Jeremy describes the Oscar Hunt mindfulness initiative as appropriate and relevant in that it can help to reduce stress and contribute to better overall health and wellness.
The Purposeful team have developed a series of indicators aligned to each of the four key pillars of the program that measures progress and development of altruism, well-being, growth and mission in the workplace. The program and it’s evaluation follow the Purposeful change model:
These indicators helped to form the basis for a pre, mid and post program survey assessment tool, that is sent to staff at various stages of program implementation.
The survey is evidence-based and is designed to bring in consistent feedback on how staff have been impacted by the program from prior to the program commencement through to its completion.
At the end of the Social Impact Program, the Oscar Hunt team will receive a full report in August 2018 that combines these results with qualitative feedback from key stakeholders and participants of the program.
The report will also include key findings and recommendations for how the business can continue to integrate purpose that drives work performance and impact. This will also help inform Purposeful’s approach is to how it can refine its program to best help other businesses.
Results To Date
Now a few months into the pilot of the Social Impact Program, the feedback and observations from the Oscar Hunt managers are clear indicators that we have successfully created momentum for personal and professional growth in the team. Managing Director, Chris Edwards has observed:
“The program so far is having a strong, positive impact on the team. I have had many staff members telling me about how excited they are about being a part of the program and the activities we are running.”
The Oscar Hunt team have put significant effort into developing the work experience program in partnership with the Lighthouse Foundation and they’ve created a unique and exciting product.
The team have incorporate best practice models to develop a structured and outcomes focused program, enabling disadvantaged youth to have a truly positive and beneficial work experience.
The program has also had a positive impact on the Lighthouse Foundation with program liaison and Marketing, Fundraising and Community Engagement Manager Tom Ruijs noting:
“It’s been a great little journey so far. Sally* one of our young people spoke at Oscar Hunt’s showroom and got a real confidence boost out of that.”
Sally went on to do a public speaking gig which has done wonders for her confidence and her feelings of self-worth. Tom reflected on the change that the program has created:
“It’s through meaningful interactions like this that slowly but surely real change starts to happen for our young people.”
Since the launch of the program, the Oscar Hunt team have had broader engagement in the community, exploring a range of ideas and instigating their own initiatives beyond the program, one most recently making a public stance for the marriage equality vote.
The program has supported this by bringing in a series of inspiring speakers (including Sally from Lighthouse Foundation) to share their knowledge and life lessons and how they are solving relevant social issues.
The program has been driven internally by Rachael Lockyer, a staff member at Oscar Hunt, who has embraced and championed its growth:
“The program has been awesome so far and really livened things up at Oscar Hunt”
The next few months will see this part of the program grow with a focus on broadening horizons and personal and professional growth. Georgia Matthews from The Channel, was the first speaker in this exciting program.
The Channel is a giving circle that funds lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community projects. They committed to: ‘growing the pot of gold under the rainbow’ and changing the way Australians experience gender and sexuality for the better’. Future speakers will increasingly focus on broadening perspectives, diversity and community engagement.
Staff initiative and engagement in the program and its range of opportunities indicates that Oscar Hunt is benefiting from the program and will continue to fulfill a broader purpose with significant impacts on their own work and the community. We look forward to sharing further results of this work in mid-late 2018.
Could your workplace and people benefit from a Social Impact Program? We would love to hear from you.
This article was written by Purposeful’s former Partnerships Lead, Marie Chung with input from our partners at Oscar Hunt, Lighthouse Foundation and Jeremy Neumann.
* – ‘Sally’ is not her real name, protected for privacy and confidentiality reasons