We all lose our way at work sometimes. Careers can feel stuck in neutral, and it’s easy to lose enthusiasm or question the direction we’re taking. For most of us, this feeling is temporary. But if it doesn’t get addressed, we can start to feel unhappy and disconnected from the larger world around us. For a business, this can result in low employee morale, or the loss of valuable workers who can’t resist the call to radically change their situation.
But in 2017, Octopus decided there had to be a better way. What if you could keep your brightest employees by helping them find new challenges that satisfied their sense of adventure, and brought them back feeling reinvigorated and ready to take on the world?
Embracing The International Exchange programme
With the help of The International Exchange (TIE) programme, Octopus employees are getting a chance to accept new challenges, gain new experiences and skills, and return to work with fresh insights, motivation and a greater sense of purpose.
TIE takes bright minds and matches their skills with a project in a developing country that really needs them. This results in a better world and a greater feeling of meaningfulness among skilled professionals.
“I don’t think making a difference is something people should only do in their weekend ‘real life’ rather than their ‘work life,’ says Octopus CEO Simon Rogerson. “I think the divide between the two is becoming increasingly blurred.” And giving employees this opportunity, according to Simon, can have an amazing collective impact on a company’s morale.
Amira Mansour and Chloe Allan are two Octopus employees who will soon be sharing their expertise abroad. In February, Amira, a Learning and Development Trainer, will be leaving London to work with Joy Street, an education company based in Recife, Brazil, that works to transform the educational system in Brazil through technology and games.
“The opportunity to help other people, use my skills and develop new ones gives me a massive sense of fulfilment,” says Amira. “I feel honoured to have had different experiences and would love to draw on these to help someone else.”
The opportunity to make a difference
Chloe, a Senior Business Development Manager for Octopus Investments, is off to Malawi in April to work with Chance for Change. Chloe will be helping the charity develop its enterprise strategy and program, empowering young offenders to become entrepreneurs and take charge of their future.
Chloe spoke about her reaction to the programme. "Octopus revealed the news last summer that they had partnered with The International Exchange, and I had to apply! Volunteering in a developing country has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I feel honoured to be working for a company that shares this passion with me.”
Leading up to their departure, both Amira and Chloe have been organising fundraisers for their volunteer programmes — starting with a bake sale, followed by a ‘Man versus Food’ speed eating competition. Follow the links to support Amira and Joy Street and Chloe and Chance for Change, and to find out more about their volunteering programmes.