Sheffield United FC Community Foundation builds links between the club and its community using the appeal of football and sport to encourage, motivate and inspire all individuals, regardless of background, to achieve their potential.
We spoke to Head of Foundation, Chris Bailey, to find out how the Foundation is supported by Howarths.
Hi Chris. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Howarths?
Chris: We have been working with Howarths since 2015 but it honestly feels like much longer. I can’t actually imagine not working with Howarths as they just feel part of the fabric of the Foundation and have done for so long.
What areas of business does Howarths support the Foundation with?
Chris: We receive HR and employment law support and health and safety support from Howarths. As the Foundation grew in size and stature, it became clear we required some support in these areas to ensure we not only remained compliant, but also remained effective.
The level of support Howarths provides continues to grow with us, and that is why we haven’t looked to change. We mainly utilise support with policies and procedures, but have also made use of employment law support and HR functions in relation to guidance around GDPR, staffing and contracts, and for general guidance.
Tell us about a time when Howarths has helped you achieve a positive outcome for the Foundation.
Chris: Howarths has provided excellent information, advice and guidance around COVID-19 in terms of the Job Retention Scheme and wider employment considerations. We have also been supported through the changes in GDPR and data protection and have called on Howarths to help us deal with challenges such as staff capability, disciplinaries, recruitment and contracts. The Howarths team is also engaged in our regular Health and Safety site visits and provide excellent support to help us develop in this area.
Does working with Howarths give you peace of mind in your role?
Chris: For me, having an array of expertise on the other end of the phone (or indeed a video call!) is far greater than relying on one person internally. This isn’t to diminish the work that an individual may undertake if we explored this route, however with Howarths, I feel we have a team of people we can rely on. I know that I can make a call and somebody with the right knowledge and experience will be able to support me. It is an extension of the Foundation in many ways.
Are there any specific policies or procedures Howarths has helped you introduce?
Chris: We have sought additional policies to allow us to become a more flexible organisation. These include the addition of a ‘Training and Loan Deduction’ document, where we can offer financial support to employees for CPD and training whilst agreeing flexible approaches to financing these as a charity.
We have also included the use of a ‘bring your own device’ policy, which allows employees to use their own laptops and tablets for work purposes, giving them the flexibility to use them in the communities we serve, in the office, and at home.
I have also been able to sound out a number of ideas around improving the general flexible function of the Foundation’s operations including flexible working, which has really helped some of our employees to create a positive work life balance in recent years.
How has working with Howarths benefitted Sheffield United Community Foundation as the organisation has grown?
Chris: The Foundation has grown and changed in recent years, but the constant for us has been Howarths. It has been particularly important to build a trustworthy relationship to allow Howarths to connect with us and understand why and how we have grown and changed, and indeed, have been challenged.
This level of trust has benefited us in terms of the support Howarths have been able to provide. The more Howarths understand about our charity, the better placed they are to provide bespoke advice, and in an efficient manner.
How does Howarths approach problem solving and working with you?
Chris: The team takes time to get to know our organisation and our people. This allows them to engage in more detailed conversations and provide bespoke advice and guidance to the Foundation.
The Howarths team is first and foremost polite and professional. I enjoy the conversations and always leave with a smile, and of course, answers to my questions. I find there is a methodical approach, and if further investigation or thought is required, the team is always honest and will explain what they intend to do and why, coming back at an appropriate time with right information.
Would you recommend Howarths to others?
I don’t simply recommend Howarths, I wholeheartedly endorse Howarths. They provide the information, advice and guidance you require from a HR, employment law and health & safety function, but in a way that makes it feel like they work with you, side by side, day in, day out. I certainly feel that the family orientated culture they have built their business on permeates through to ours.
Find out more about Sheffield United FC Community Foundation here.