April 3, 2018
Within any organisation, ‘purpose’ can be a key driver of growth and success; it can motivate staff in a way that simply pursuing commercial goals does not always and can act as a key differentiator in a crowded marketplace. Purpose can also focus people in times of uncertainty and inform their decisions when the right path is not so clear.
Impeller is a company that starts with ‘why?’. It is a social enterprise formed in partnership with Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service, which has a mission to utilise the skills, people and assets of the fire service to generate profits that are reinvested back into community fire safety projects.
The social enterprise provides both employment and generates revenue streams that will support the safety of the wider North East community going forward.
The ‘profit-for-good’ model has inspired more than 40 current and former fire service employees to sign up to work for the business as associates.
Will Fatherley, CEO of Impeller, says: “Our business model is built on the core skills of our highly trained and experienced firefighters, but it is our purpose that persuades them to work for us in the first place. They can see that we contribute to the safety of their local community and as firefighters that really resonates with them.”
As well as engaging employees, Impeller’s purpose has helped them win more than 300 new customers since incorporation in 2015, who recognise the social value that Impeller creates through their business.
“We have been fortunate to work for some fantastic clients in our short history including Nissan, English Heritage, Northumbria Police, BP, Kingston Property Services and Siemens,” Will adds.
The work Impeller delivers centres on fire safety and risk management – from training fire wardens (500+ to date) and firefighters to working with organisations to improve their resilience through more effective risk management.
In addition, fire safety in property is a big area of focus, utilising the skills of Fire Safety Officers from the fire service to carry out fire risk assessments or helping contractors or owners with more complex fire engineering problems.
Impeller also harnesses the technology of the fire service, using immersive software to help organisations simulate business continuity scenarios that test their plans and people.
Will continues: “One of the effects of our work is a more resilient and safer business for our customers – all of our work contributes to this in some way and fits with our brand ethos of ‘Protecting People and Places’.”
This year, Impeller is launching a teambuilding day focused on improving communication, trust and decision making – based at the Fire Service training centre in Washington. Teams will be tested over a series of mental and physical challenges culminating in a live fire rescue.
“It’s an amazing learning experience for the team but also gives them a framework around which to improve their skills and knowledge of one another in an extreme environment,” says Will.
Impeller is rigorous with customer satisfaction, as its CEO explains: “We adopted the ‘Net Promoter Score’ system to track customer satisfaction – our rolling score over the last 12 months is 91 per cent, on a scale where 75 per cent is rated world class. Like the rest of the business, a lot of our success comes down to purpose – when you have a firefighter with 30 years of operational experience teaching a fire warden course, the experience is simply on a different level.”