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Monday, 9 December

Sprinkling the Magic - Cordant Shares Wealth

The Cordant Group, a massive recruitment business with a substantial FM services arm has become a Social Enterprise. Meaning the majority of the Group's profits will go to social programmes across education, employment, and healthcare.

Framed around a five-year plan, the family owned Group will reinvest the majority of its profits (in due course) with the pledge to touch and improve thousands of lives, one community at a time.

To illustrate its intent, Cordant has already:

  • Capped all annual shareholder dividends at approximately £250,000 per shareholder family, per annum, which in today’s terms equates to £3 million.
  • Capped all executive salaries at 20 times that of the lowest paid worker.
  • Agreed to be independently audited, using recognised Social Impact measurements

Chris Kenneally Cordant's CEO said: "Whilst Cordant’s businesses will operate as normal, these changes will enable it to reinvest profits into key initiatives, including: A teacher programme being developed by international education expert Richard Gerver to examine the link between the classroom and life/work preparation.

"IT platforms offered at zero cost for the Healthcare sector, enabling Hospital Trusts to offer shifts directly to doctors and nurses, saving the NHS millions of pounds.

"Partnerships with key clients focusing on upskilling and training for the temporary workforce to drive productivity but deliver deeper satisfaction.

"Ongoing investment in technology to connect pupils to apprenticeships, workers to jobs, and patients to doctors and carers.

 

"The creation of a profit share scheme for staff."

 

Why and how will it work?

Chris Kenneally told ThisWeekinFM: "14 months ago the government on behalf of the NHS were looking to sell NHS Key (the recruitment portal). We have a healthcare business so we went to look at it and realised we could so something special to save the NHS thousands if not millions of pounds. Through this initiative, our Chairman (the leader of the family so to speak) was involved with Deloittes and Social Enterprise UK  and came to the realisation that Cordant Group could do more for its employees, the communities it operates within and society as a whole. He took the suggestion to the family and everyone bought in - across everything; all the FM and the agency and the recruitment companies."

 

What are the expected outcomes?

Kenneally said: "The teacher programme is predicated on establishing a mechanism in schools that finds a spark in pupils and igniting it. We will fund Richard Gerver and take his research and canvass to change how schools operate. We believe in a system that makes students hungrier to learn about what they're genuinely interested in rather than take a sheep dip through all the specified subjects). The workplace will benefit."

 

What will you do for your employees and how will you try to influence your clients and perhaps your peer companies?

"We will engage in a much more extensive training programmes - a one day training course really is no good. We will do online and on the job training and let individuals take time out to develop their skills. We must leverage the Apprenticeship Levy. I am told that as an industry, we are all behind the curve in that.

"Our technology development will allow us to marry the right people with the right jobs - and the right environment for them to be productive. We and our clients will benefit from staff retention."

 

Flexibility?

"A great example," Kenneally told ThisWeekinFM, "is a young parent who can't take an eight hour shift - and maybe not four - leaving a world of people who can do two hours on or two hours on, two off and two on...or even just one hour on a given day. The workplace is missing out on all these people. We can help.

"Our businesses already have the IT systems in place to capitalise on this flexibility - we will fund all the additional  development and deploy it on a not-for-profit basis.

"The same is true in the NHS where doctors and nurses and other staff are employed on an agency basis - costing all those fees to the agencies. We're now going to make our systems (and new systems) available free to any NHS Trust. The agencies will hate us but the NHS will save thousands, if not millions, to put back in to proper patient care."

 

The business

Cordant Group has revenues of £840 million employs 125,000 workers annually in schools, hospitals, care homes, security and specialist roles such as engineering. It believes it is this powerful multi sector reach that can deliver a lasting social impact.

Phillip Ullmann, Chief Energiser, Cordant Group said: “Our dream of building a genuine global Social Enterprise that can improve the lives of thousands of people is now being realised. We believe our teacher programme will change the classroom, our workplace initiatives will re-engage employees and our healthcare ideas will transform patient care.”

Chris Kenneally, concluded: “It is business as usual at Cordant but with one key difference – profits will now be used to deliver a broader prosperity, benefiting society as a whole and not just our shareholders. Whilst we believe this is an important moral position given the overwhelming response, we also know it will be positive for our businesses and drive efficiency, productivity and profitability. Our key customers are keen to work and partner with us on a journey that will create deeper relationships and returns.”

Picture: Chris Kenneally

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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