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Let’s celebrate the change-makers

By Peter Gilheany

22 January 2016
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Every workplace has at least one – someone who thinks a little bit more than most, who considers what can be changed rather than accepting the status quo, who has ideas they share with others rather than keeping them to themselves. For most businesses they are priceless, which makes it odd that they have been given such a terrible label – intrapreneurs. Perhaps the most spectacular example is Wipro, a company in India that started out selling vegetables until one of its employees decided it needed to change direction and is now a multinational software outsourcing giant worth $35 Billion.

Needless to say, lots of companies spend a lot of time looking for and nurturing these remarkable people, particularly creating incentives to support and inspire them. Some of them are waking up to the fact that these same people can help businesses take their social purpose to another level. One such is Hilton Worldwide which supports its social intrapreneurs globally through its Travel With Purpose CSR programme.

You have a chance to celebrate the change makers in your own organisation by entering them in the ‘Creating change within a business’ award we are sponsoring as part of the overall SMK Awards run by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation. The award will celebrate an exceptional employee who has pushed for change within a business itself or been the driver of a business’ own desire to create wider change. As with all of the categories, the award is designed to celebrate the outstanding contribution that a new generation of campaigners are making towards achieving social, environmental and economic justice, both in the UK and abroad.

Our recent Business to Society study highlighted the increasing focus of businesses on addressing their social responsibility, with 48% of business leaders agreeing that it is important for them to be seen to tackle social and environmental issues.

This belief is also echoed by consumers, with two thirds saying that businesses should work more with charities and over half (53%) agreeing that they would be more likely to give their custom to businesses with a strong stance on social and environmental issues. With many businesses already taking steps to address this need, the new SMK award is a great opportunity to recognise those from outside the charity sector who are working to make a positive impact on society.

You can apply or nominate someone you know for an SMK Campaigner Award by visiting SMK’s website at http://www.smk.org.uk/campaigners-award/. Applications close at 1pm on Monday 8th February 2016. Award winners will be invited to attend a special ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 13th April 2016.