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People@Work – a recruitment agency social enterprise

Geelong-based People@Work took out the Excellence in CSR at the 2020 Recruitment Industry Awards and Brenden Caligari, Engagement and Social Procurement Manager, explains exactly what it is that sets the agency apart.

People@Work is unique in the typical commercial operation-type recruitment sector because we don’t see CSR as an initiative, nor a strategy.

To us, it is why we exist.

People@Work is a certified social enterprise and our philosophy is quite simply “People over profits”.

We live and practise effective altruism and use our resources to help others. In doing so, we achieve our social mission to support our community and reduce unemployment and associated disadvantage within our region.

In 2020, we are proud to have been recognised recently by the RCSA with the Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility award, as it serves as testament to our staff that their industry peers applaud their efforts.

Our team is only small, but is built on a solid foundation of national and international recruitment and labour-hire experience. Consultants are attracted to our philosophy and mission but make a personal sacrifice to work for an organisation with a strong social focus.

Senior Consultant, Callum Paterson, who had eight years international recruitment experience prior to joining People@Work, said he sensed there was a purpose to the business, one where consultants weren’t bound by time.

“I got the impression of real collaboration, which went beyond the transactional nature of other recruitment models,” Callum said.

“The nature and variety of the placements and relationships with an impressive client list highlighted to me this was an agency that is different from the norm.”

People@Work exists to support the local community and every year our group returns 100% of our annual corporate surplus to the local community. We aren’t Government funded, receive no donations, nor are we providers of any Government programs.

People@Work is a fully self-funded commercial operation recruitment and labour-hire agency and our profit allow us to achieve our social mission.

In recent years, our group has proudly donated more than $4 million back to our local community.

People@Work was established in 1987 and operated for more than 30 years within regional Victoria as a successful, commercially-focussed, recruitment and labour-hire agency.

In 2008, People@Work was purchased by Gforce Employment Solutions (Gforce), Geelong’s first not-for-profit Group Training Organisation.

The acquisition saw People@Work’s purpose and mission change. From that day forward, our focus has been on practising altruism and the “fruits of our labour” help us achieve our mission - to support our community and reduce unemployment and associated disadvantage within our region.

In early 2019, People@Work achieved certification as a social enterprise by Social Traders Limited. The term “social enterprise” is often confused. Social enterprises are business who trade to intentionally tackle social problems and improve communities.

They use the power of the marketplace and can help solve the most pressing societal issues.

This certification is the first of its type in Australia and the Victorian State Government’s preferred certification body as part of their ‘whole of Government’ Social Procurement Framework that was launched in 2018.

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