This week, Louise from Manchester, an Assistant Manager, joins us to share her experience of taking part in Mazars’ National Challenge. We collaborated with the charity Sense to run activities in offices across the country in order to raise awareness for deafblind people and those with sensory impairments to help lead a more independent life.
Louise talks to us about the variety of activities that took place in Manchester, from Lunch & Learn sessions to the 370,000 step challenge, and the importance of teamwork and collaboration.
Tell us about the Mazars National Challenge– what is it about?
For me, the Mazars National Challenge is the event of the year where the whole firm can rally together to support a really worthwhile cause while really challenging ourselves individually. This year we chose to focus on local office events, getting staff involved in local fundraising efforts and some fun physical challenges all in aid of Sense, a charity which focuses on supporting those with complex disabilities to help them communicate and experience the world around them.
Why did you choose to play an active part in the organisation?
I am really passionate about making an impact in the community through my work and this event was a great way to get the office together working towards one goal. In the Manchester we have had an influx of new joiners in the last couple of months so it was the perfect opportunity to get the different service lines together and the whole office mixing and learning about a charity which is doing some really valuable work in the community but maybe isn’t a charity many have heard of before.
What three things have contributed most to the success of the #SenseChallenge?
Firstly the support in organising and running the week from the MNC Committees, the office admin teams and the CSR group was absolutely invaluable. There are always more administrative tasks than you initially think when you first start these kind of events.
Secondly, the support we received from Sense this year was great. The Lunch & Learn sessions were a big hit in the office and was very inspirational to watch staff try and communicate without words!
Finally the willingness of staff to throw themselves in and get involved. At 4pm in the Manchester office we were almost 87,000 steps off our 370,000 step challenge but we rallied round had had half the office running laps around the office for the last hour trying to hit the target! After the final push amazingly we ended up 21,000 steps over our goal and was definitely the most fun Friday afternoon I have had at work in a long time.
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned from helping organise such a massive initiative?
For me it was to ask for help at an early stage. There was a lot to think about and organise and importantly communicate to staff. I think everyone involved at local level organising was lucky enough to have localised committees and the national CSR group to share out the responsibilities and share success stories of what works.
How was Inclusivity a big part of this year’s #SenseChallenge, and what can organisations do more generally do to create a culture of inclusion?
Whilst last year’s #SenseChallenge was a really great event, this year was extra special in that we got to tailor our events to the staff in our local offices. It was important to us in setting our #SenseChallenge in the Manchester office that the target we set was achievable but also accessible by every single person. Our office step challenge allowed everyone regardless of fitness to get involved and encourage everyone to take part in their own way. We had some of our team going about their usual day with a step counter at hand, and some of the more competitive in our team spending over an hour running on treadmills. The greatest success for me personally in the day was having 60 members of staff all contributing their steps for the day. That level of interaction from the office as a whole is something we haven’t seen in a long time! There was no prerequisite of being the fittest or the fastest, just wanting to support the charity anyway you could. Funnily enough I had actually sprained my ankle the day before so was hobbling around but still managed to get a respectable 7,600 steps in on Friday!
By offering staff the opportunity to learn about challenges faced by others and working on common goals to support change, organisations can help introduce a culture of inclusion. Communication is so key to bringing people together, something that I think the Lunch and Learn sessions really showed, and reminded us that this communication does not always need to be verbal. But ultimately, organisations can only become inclusive if they attract staff from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. To do this they need to show outwardly as well as internally that the channels for voicing concerns or issues are reliable, valued by all levels of staff and that the support is there for anyone who needs it, regardless of what that support may be.
Thank you to Louise for taking the time to speak to us. We will be publishing more #WeAreMazars interviews over the coming months so stay tuned!