This month, LBG spoke with Alexis Steadman, CR Project Manager at RELX to learn more about their approach to social impact throughout this pandemic.
How did RELX and its employees support communities at the beginning of this pandemic?
Through our global RELX Cares programme, employees make a difference to their local and global communities. Last year, across RELX we contributed £18.7m to charities, encompassing cash and the market value of in-kind contributions and volunteering. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit we knew that our commitment to our local and global communities had never been more important.
To ensure we made it easier for employees to support their communities in this difficult period, we first looked at our volunteering policy. All RELX employees have two days each year to volunteer for registered charities but from the earliest days of local lockdowns, employees got in touch asking to use their volunteering time to help vulnerable people in their communities. To facilitate this, we acted quickly to make it possible to use RELX Cares hours to help individuals and groups that are not registered charities. Employees appreciated this and have found innovative ways to use their RELX Cares hours: from sewing masks for healthcare workers to writing letters to isolated elderly people.
Did you make any changes to the way you distribute funding to your charity partners?
We knew we should quickly make changes in this unprecedented year to our grant making. Each year RELX Cares Champions choose charities to support that align with the RELX Cares Mission of education for disadvantaged young people that advances one or more of our unique contributions as a business including advancing science and health, protection of society, furthering the rule of law and access to justice, and fostering communities. Charities must provide a budget and tell us the impact their project will make. We acted decisively to alter this programme for 2020 and allocated our grants budget to charities which we had supported during the two previous years. We did not specify how the money should be spent to allow beneficiaries to use the funding however they felt best.
What kind of management approach enabled you to make all these decisions in such a short period of time?
Despite the size of RELX, we have an agile approach to CR that allows us to make policy and budget decisions quickly. It is the key to responding rapidly and appropriately to changing circumstances.