CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY POLICY – JULY 2018
To create ‘a healthier and happier Ireland’
To improve the health and wellbeing of our communities through exercise, sport and active lifestyles.
For over 20 years, Aura Holohan Group has raised industry standards in sport & leisure facility management, architecture, consultancy and event management in Ireland. We have won prestigious national awards in the areas of Health and Safety, Human Resources, Energy Management, Disability Services, Quality and Event Management. Aura Holohan Group recognise that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) matters are of increasing importance to staff, customer and stakeholders and are fundamental to the continued success of the organisation. We focus on 3 main areas in line with our strategic objectives:
We operate as an integral part of the local community. We meaningfully contribute, engage and participate in the local community. We also operate like a family and have a very strong sense of internal community as an organisation.
We are consistent in the quality of our customer service, people, products, services and promotion. You can also see the quality of maintenance, safety & cleanliness in our centres throughout the country.
We are passionate about our customers achieving their goals, our communities, our people, the standards in our centres and the health & well being of Ireland.
Being a leading health and fitness services provider in Ireland, the Aura Holohan Group believes in applying its skills and resources where it can make the greatest impact on society and the centres communities it operates in. This is a core strategic focus for us as an organisation and is also deeply embedded in the values of our company.
THE 4 PILLARS OF OUR CSR POLICY
The Group believes that its CSR Policy shall provide long-term benefits to its employees, customers, partners and communities and focuses on the 4 main pillars: Social, Economic, Workplace and Environmental.
One of our key priorities is building relationships and trust with our stakeholders. Aura Holohan Group is a people-centric company and we put our employees and customers experience at the heart of all our decisions. Serving the local communities in which our centres operate is therefore a key tenet of our approach and values.
- Employment Creation and Skills Development: our centres are built for the people in the communities in which we are based, and we are supported and funded by these people. We therefore work to employ, teach and help the people in these communities wherever we can. We also provide training and development programmes and courses to facilitate opportunities and upskill ur employees.
- Community Engagement: we pride ourselves in how we continuously support and get involved in local initiatives and community projects across our communities. We run a number of outreach programmes and support local business and events.
- Social Inclusion: our team has built up key working relationships with various charities, schools, community groups, special needs groups and sports groups across the country to increase levels of participation in sport and fitness at our centres that are publicly accessible to all. We facilitate special classes and free venue hire to special needs groups for example special needs aquatics and inclusive fitness.
- Employee Involvement: we ensure our staff are involved in all aspects of the business, as they are integral to the future success of the company. We facilitate several platforms for communication exchange for feedback and ideas as well as providing opportunities to get involved in project teams and company social events. We seek ideas for fundraising for both local charities and our national charity partner and all employees have the opportunity to be involved in all charity
- Philanthropy and Sponsorship: we host several internal fundraising events for local charities in our centres. We regularly fund a number of community and national events and projects. We also organise for our staff to volunteer in educational activities and outreach initiatives during work hours, for example regularly doing fitness programmes in local schools and conducting free water safety talks in schools around the
We know that our people are pivotal to success of our company, so serving the local communities in which our centres operate is at the forefront of our business and embedded in our CSR policy and our values. Our centres are built for the people in the communities in which we are based and we work to employ and support the people in these communities. Our team has built up key working relationships with various charities, schools, community groups, special needs groups and sports groups across the country to increase levels of participation in sport and fitness at our centres.
Aura Holohan Group have been involved in many local initiatives in our communities and local areas. In 2018 we made a conscious decision to continue with the many local charity partnerships as well as appointing a national charity partner. Our reason for this is that working with both our local communities and affecting change at national level is part of our mission and purpose and to ignore one or the other would be contrary to that mission and purpose.
In terms of local event and initiatives each year:
- We made our amenities available for the group that are taking part in Cycle Against Suicide each
- We sponsor local fundraisers throughout the
- We host Community Games trials at the Aura
- We have set up bookings through the local Sports Partnership for many different special needs groups.
- We have a policy throughout the business of carers getting free entry with those they are caring for
- We facilitate Lough Key’s Try a Tri events each
- We hosted the Darkness to Light walks in several of our
- We organised a Swim into Light in conjunction with Darkness into Light
- We were headline sponsors of the ‘Aura Boyne Swim’.
- We were event partners for WellFest 2018 – Official Gym
- We were headline sponsors of ‘Swim Lough Rynn’
In mid 2018 Aura Holohan Group entered into a partnership with the Irish Heart Foundation, a national charity whose mission is to affect positive change in the lifestyles of Irish people, to achieve better outcomes for those affected by heart disease and stroke and to challenge when the health of our nation is put at risk. The reason behind this partnership is that there is huge synergy between both organisations; both are trusted health brands, have a commitment to putting people at the centre of their work, are community focused and have an emphasis on health messages that empower people.
This partnership will continue into the future and it is our intention to work very closely with the Irish Heart Foundation to raise funds and also to educate all those we come into contact with in relation to optimising their heart health.
Our impact on the economy and our relationship with our customers, suppliers and business partners is a core part of business. We ensure we operate in an ethical and sustainable manner throughout every aspect of the business.
Product Quality and Information:
- Swim Academy – At the Aura Swim Academy, our goal is not only to teach children to swim, but to help them develop an understanding of the water. We believe that learning to swim is an essential life skill and we cater for all ages and ability.
- Fit for Life – This is our exercise and nutrition program that we offer to our members free of charge. Our fully qualified and professional trainers give our members a personalised and tailor-made program that focuses on their unique
- Personal Training – In addition to our free Fit for Life service to members we also offer paid Personal Training to our members as a successor to their Fit for Life program. Our goal is to help our members improve the overall health and wellbeing.
- Aura Training Academy – Aura has been in the Leisure industry since 1989 and we are leaders within this industry. Aura Training Academy is committed to encouraging and enabling adults to achieve quality-learning opportunities through our training courses that include Swim Teaching, Lifeguarding, Manual Handling, Fire Training and Aura Fitness Academy (Personal Training and Fitness Instructor courses).
- We have more certified tutors in the areas of fitness, swimming, leisure operations and health & safety than any other organisation in our industry.
- Customer Relations: as a company, Aura strives to develop and maintain effective relationships with all of its customers and ensures that it is consistent not only in what we offer but in how it’s offered, which is what inspires loyalty and repeat business. This includes employee training. Cohesive customer service policies and features are important. Our customers are at the forefront of everything we do and the decisions we make as a business. We strive to be the best with our independent quarterly customer satisfaction audits ‘Net Promoter Score’ (NPS) – to benchmark our customer service levels with national and international standards. We also conduct quarterly mystery shopper programmes to independently audit customer service standards and procedures. In order to educate, train and up-skill our staff with regards to customer service we host regular training sessions on sites through our Head of Sales & Retention and we create and deliver annual customer service master classes to our whole staff body to help them achieve excellence and focus on best practice.
- Fair Operating Practices: Aura Holohan Group will continue to respect the law, honour our company policy and ensure that all our business operations are legitimate and keep every partnership and collaboration open and transparent. We will always conduct business with integrity and respect to human rights. We promote safety and fair dealing, respect toward the consumer and our members and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated within our
The key to the success of our business is our people. Building trust with employees, safe conditions of employment and the workplace environment underpin successful businesses. Aura commits to good workplace practices. We believe what makes a great workplace is where you achieve organizational objectives with employees who give their personal best and work together as a team/family — all in an environment of trust where you have pride in what you do and enjoy the people you work with.
- Conditions of Employment: we operate fair terms and conditions of employment to our staff and offer a wide range of employee benefits. We also pride ourselves in prioritising the health and safety of our employees and the conditions in which they work. We honour all of our internal policies and procedures and ensure staff are trained on these at induction. We employ a full time Health & Safety Officer to remain at the forefront of H&S best
- Equality and Diversity: we are an equal opportunities employer. Aura Holohan Group has an exceptional focus on understanding and providing for customers and staff with disabilities. We were national winners of the private sector for the O2 Ability Awards, and executive Chairman has spoken internationally promoting ‘The Disability Business Case’ – including a presentation in the European Parliament. We currently have 14 permanent employees in our business who have a registered disability or special needs, and many others who are not state registered. Roles range from front line service providers such as Leisure Attendants, Assistant Swim Teachers and Lifeguards. We have a supportive culture throughout which means that everyone is supported to achieve their best regardless of their level of ability or potential. Our centres regularly conduct the following training:
- All new staff are fully inducted on our ‘Persons with Disability Policy’ and ‘Equal Opportunities Policy’
- People with Additional Needs training
- Special Needs Aquatics
- Inclusive Fitness Training.
- Work Life Balance: we promote work life balance as part of our internal wellbeing policy – WellFit and our ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’. We also operate where possible flexible working hours for our staff.
- Employee Health and Wellbeing: we launched our first internal wellbeing policy this year – WellFit. The objective of this policy is to proactively promote strategies and tools to affect and improve wellbeing, and to develop management skills to promote positive wellbeing and manage wellbeing challenges effectively. We aim to create and promote a workplace environment that supports and promotes the wellbeing of all employees so that they can deliver their best in their roles. We are partnered with See Change – the national suicide prevention organisation and our managers have undertaken Mental Health training with See Change.
- Consultation and Communication: one of the fundamental parts of successfully growing the company is efficient communication so staff can be kept up to date on business news and are able to give feedback and ideas. The company provides many platforms for communication exchange including our intranet platforms, leadership team annual roadshows, business update meetings, project and focus groups, surveys, quarterly newsletters and monthly vlogs and access platforms with the company
Our responsibility towards our planet and efforts to reduce energy costs in all of our leisure centres, gyms and in our Support Office are our key priorities. We consistently operate above the benchmarks set for energy saving and waste reduction: we have already achieved a 46% reduction in our fuel, water and electricity consumption and are working towards a waste recycling rate of 60% of all our consumable products annually. Our work in this area has led to us achieving awards from various local authorities and energy groups and we are proud to be the only leisure operator within Ireland and the UK to be a member of Green Hospitality.
- Energy Management: Aura Holohan Group Energy Management Policy states that we declare the utmost commitment to an energy management programme of excellence as a group of employees, and also to actively engage with our customers to assist us along the way. We use Energy monitoring software that is checked each day with thresholds, which means no wastage. We also have trained energy champions on each site. We strive to constantly reduce our energy which includes our Fuel, Electricity, Water, Waste consumption by way of our 5 Point Energy Plan:
- Improving existing operations, optimisation of existing plant and waste management
- Sub metering of fuel, electricity and water
- Training of staff
- Investment in energy reducing equipment
- Energy Awareness Campaign
- Recycling: Aura also strives to mitigate negative impacts on the environment by operating recycling plans in all of our leisure centres and promote a paperless office programme in the support office where possible.
- Resource Efficiency: Data on our internal operating processes is what drives this process in Aura Holohan Group and our main priority is to utilise the appropriate tools to gather this data e.g. our energy management system and our health and safety practices, establish its accuracy and relevance and then analyse it. This is how Aura Holohan Group goes beyond developing easier reporting methods for compliance reasons, helping us to improve supply chain management, streamlining our operational processes and saving on energy resources where
Other areas the Aura Holohan Group has placed focus on best practise are:
Aura Holohan Groups GDPR policy aims to define Aura Holohan Groups obligations and responsibilities in the handling and storage of data in relation to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). Aura Holohan Group acknowledges that it is obliged to keep certain information about its employees, customers and other 3rd party users in order to monitor usage, performance and achievements, to enable and upkeep the highest standards in relation to health and safety practices. It is also necessary for Aura Holohan Group to process information so that staff can be recruited, managed and paid, courses organised and legal obligations to funding bodies and government complied with. To comply with the law, information collected by Aura Holohan Group is always used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed to any other person unlawfully. Our mission is to protect our customers and staff.
Bringing individual efficiency initiatives and cost saving programmes into a more cohesive strategy was the point at which Aura Holohan Group really started innovating at a companywide level with regards to CSR. The data collection and analysis process and systems we have in place provide us with the opportunity to leverage CSR into our core business model. In many ways, this is less about centralisation and more about our sites becoming more autonomous form the support office and in turn delegating responsibility towards the relative business units. It has also become the role of our Support Office to bring positive influence and change to company culture and practices and to manage that change through senior and middle management. CSR has become more fundamentally tied to the overall business model and marketing and branding are no exception, which takes us into the next section of the document.
Storytelling and Brand Image
Corporate social responsibility, for Aura Holohan Group is not an exclusively internal process driven by business needs and requirements. With innovation and our initiatives, comes the need to communicate our CSR policy to customers, stakeholders, employees and partners. In this instance we seek to tie CSR more fundamentally to corporate strategy, planning and our external message. More specifically though, we seek to do this by shaping our brand image to reflect our values and our mission to create a healthier and happier Ireland.
Campaigns to promote awareness of the locations of and facilities available in Ireland and implementation of a strong brand identity, which reflects the service levels and builds loyalty, are essential to the success of the group and our mission. A strong brand identity will continue to generate awareness, encourage trust and build loyalty. Most importantly, the brand identity for Aura Holohan Group and its subsidiary businesses is reflected on all related materials including staff uniforms, website, signage and all printed marketing materials.
Getting information that drives CSR to a relatable and engaging brand story isn’t always straightforward and involves looking at the bigger picture. We endeavour to ensure that our message is clear and understood and that the promises we are making to our members and customers are fulfilled through our service and recognition of their needs. Aura Holohan
Groups marketing team have extensive experience in delivering effective marketing strategies and innovative campaigns across the Irish leisure industry.
Gar Holohan, the Founder and Executive Chairman at the Aura Holohan Group:
‘Our mission is about helping people to be healthier and happier, and we are committed to providing long-term benefits to our employees, customers, partners and communities. People are the heart of our company and we are also delighted to partner with the Irish Heart Foundation to pursue a shared vision for healthier and happier Ireland.’