P&G Associates Scheme
The Associate Scheme was established for Procter & Gamble's UK retirees in the summer of 1999, as part of the Company's commitment to the life-long support of its employees. After undertaking research to confirm the views within the retiree community (currently c.2,400) a Mission Statement and Key Aims were established for the Associate Scheme:
The Associate Scheme Mission
The Associate Scheme exists to ensure that all P&G retired employees (Associates) and their spouses/partners in the British Isles have the opportunity to remain part of the Company in retirement. Through this programme the Company aims to maintain two-way contact with its Associates, keep them in touch with business developments, extend to them an appropriate range of benefits, and provide a focal point for them to maintain contact with each other (via the Contact Programme and social events) and with current employees (via workplace visits and the Community Relations Programme).
To provide a single, clearly defined point of access within P&G for Associates, thus appropriately channelling problems or queries.
To provide easily and rapidly accessible information and support to Associates who may be experiencing problems;
To facilitate social contact;
To ensure that Associates feel appropriately valued, informed and listened to by P&G.
Chris Delapuente, former Managing Director and Vice President of P&G UK & Eire, is a strong supporter of the Associate Scheme and wishes it well in promoting the interests of Associates. He also hopes that stronger links with the Company might result in more opportunities for Associates to use their energy and wisdom as it drives to enhance the Company's reputation.
How is the Scheme Managed?
A Scheme Manager (Katharine Thornton), manages the Associate Scheme on a day-to-day basis. A Management Board comprising of a mixture of current and past employees meets once a year. The Scheme in the UK is divided into several regions that are managed on a local basis by a group of volunteers, supported by the Scheme Manager and administrator.
What does the Scheme do?
The Associate Scheme consists of several areas of support/communication:
The Associate Contact Programme - a regional based programme which allows those Associates who are perhaps more elderly or infirm to keep in touch with the organisation through a network of volunteer associates. All volunteers receive dedicated training and support and are either managed directly by the Associate Scheme Manager or regional volunteer coordinators.
The Associate Magazine - a magazine produced 3 times per year by an editorial board of Associates from around the UK.
pgassociates.co.uk - in response to requests for up-to-date information the Associate Scheme designed a website specifically for UK Associates. The site allows Associates to get the latest company news through links to pg.com as well as the latest list of events, new Associates etc. Associate volunteers now maintain their own region's information on the web.
Social Events and Networking - a stated aim of the Associate Scheme is that every Associate is invited to attend at least one Company-supported event per year. To facilitate this, and develop social networks amongst the Associate community, each region has established a social/events committee that is allocated a budget (based on the number of Associates within their region) from the Associate Scheme. The committees organise a number of events per year - most of which are subsidised by the Scheme.
Wreaths and condolences - upon the death of an Associate a letter of condolence and a wreath or charitable donation is provided by the Scheme on behalf of the Company.
Community Programme - Associates are now involved in the Company's voluntary work in the community. They work alongside current employees on a wide range of national and regional projects (e.g. from work in schools to education and arts iniatives).
Why does it work?
The main reason that the Associate Scheme has been successful is because it is the right thing to do and it was the right time to do it.
There is both a national and regional focus. The continuing management and development of the Scheme has a high level of input from Associates through the Management Board, plus each region has the ability to develop a localised approach under the management and guidance of the Associate Scheme Manager and the Board.
The Contribution made by Volunteers
It is estimated that the volunteers and coordinators (c.430) donated in excess of 15,200 hours of their time during 2001/2002 in assisting with the delivery and administration of the Associate Scheme. The costs involved and the level of resource committed by the Company is relatively small and with a large proportion of the work undertaken by volunteers, not only are the costs controlled but there is a high level of commitment towards achieving the objectives of the Scheme.
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