One of our organisation’s core values is that we ‘lead by example’. Leaders, colleagues and volunteers within Offploy are dedicated to supporting people with criminal convictions into meaningful, mentored and sustainable employment in order to reduce reoffending and make society safer. In doing this, we must ensure that we are setting strong, positive examples to our key stakeholders in every area of our delivery.
Furthermore, we ensure that we are taking care of our own wellbeing and development on an individual basis. We believe that it is far more challenging to support and lead the way for others if we are not feeling positive about our personal development and performance. Through goal setting, strong professional relationships, and plenty of opportunities for praise, Offploy ensures people are in the best possible position to truly lead by example.
In addition to leading by example, we realise that there are always areas where we could improve and learn more. We do not believe we are better than any individual or organisation; we draw on our strengths and experiences to motivate and lead the way for others. This value goes hand in hand with our ‘transparency is key’ value, which encourages stakeholders of the organisation to be honest and clear when suggesting areas for improvement. Commissioners Offploy consider themselves to be experts in the employment of people with criminal convictions. Therefore, it is important that commissioners believe in our service based on our performance. Leaders within our organisation have a responsibility to present the outcomes of our services to commissioners on a regular basis. In order to place Offploy as the leaders in the employment of people with criminal convictions, it is crucial that this information is delivered in a positive, professional and organised manner. Additionally, the information should be supported by clear and quality evidence of our services.
Candidate success stories detailing their journey with Offploy are another method we use to showcase the positive work we are doing, and provide commissioners with the confidence that we are leading their service users effectively and truly having a positive impact.
When Offploy are able to present and evidence high performance against outcomes, we are a step closer to leading by example for other services in the sector. Offploy do not see themselves as being in competition with any organisation, and are willing to collaborate with as many providers as possible to lead the way in reducing reoffending and making society safer. Colleagues There are a number of ways in which Offploy’s colleagues are encouraged and enabled to lead by example within their roles. Firstly, it is important to share that we are all leaders; leaders of ourselves, our candidates, and our teams if we are in a managerial position. As outlined in another of our core values, we are experts through experience. Each member of the team has something unique to bring to our service. Through the implementation of policies, procedures, values and cultures, Offploy are able to demonstrate the ability to positively and effectively lead by example.
Policies such as ‘colleague conduct’ are key when supporting colleagues in understanding how to be a positive leader. For example, our policy details the importance of professionalism in the workplace, having appropriate relationships and boundaries in place, and challenging the misconduct of others. It also explains how we should be aware of our physical presentation; if we are advising candidates on how to dress appropriately for an interview, we should be setting a good example for professional workwear ourselves. We should also be aware of how we are representing Offploy within the community. Despite not being at work, many key stakeholders will recognise us in public, and our actions still represent our organisation and have an impact on its reputation.
Offploy’s colleagues enter our organisation with a range of different backgrounds. Some of us have criminal convictions, and it is encouraged that these stories are shared with candidates to demonstrate how an individual can move on from a challenging point in their life where they may have not made the best choices. These colleagues are leading by example and being a positive role model for candidates who may not have the hope or self- belief that they can turn their lives around.
Offploy recognises that its colleagues have varying levels of skill and experience when it comes to supporting people with convictions into employment. Each colleague is therefore deployed effectively and placed into a role where their skills are best utilised. Line managers and fellow colleagues are encouraged to approach their team members with a supportive and helpful attitude, and lead by example through guiding and teaching others. Offploy has introduced a ‘buddy system’, whereby all colleagues have the opportunity to draw on each other for support. By building each other up, we will be in a much stronger position to lead by example in our organisation.
Finally, there is a strong focus on individual development within Offploy. As previously mentioned, we need to be secure in our own positions before we are in the best position to lead others. Therefore, colleagues will take part in regular professional development meetings that will focus on their professional, and sometimes personal goals whilst they work with Offploy. We believe that colleagues that are looked after and supported will have a solid foundation for being strong leaders. Candidates Candidates are the motivation for all of the work that Offploy does. Occasionally, our candidates are not in the best frame of mind, and could benefit from a mentor to lead and support them on their journey towards employment. Offploy provides all candidates with a Social Employment Advisor (SEA) that leads by example through skilled 1:1 mentoring and support. SEAs also have lived experience, therefore they can relate to the candidate because they have been through the criminal justice system themselves. The SEA behaves as an equal to the candidate, working with them; not ‘on’ them to support them in setting realistic and achievable goals. Once these goals are agreed and set, candidates are then in a position to lead on their own progress and development by following their action plan.
Our candidates are also given several opportunities to lead by example. This often tends to happen without Offploy directly facilitating it, for example, during group work sessions our candidates tend to guide and support one another where needed. We are so proud of the positive and supportive atmosphere we often witness during our candidate group sessions.
Additionally, we regularly produce good news stories when candidates have proved to be excellent role models. For example, they may have undertaken sector-specific training to gain a better job than they have previously been in. It may also be a case study regarding a candidate who has not yet gone into employment, but they have shown perseverance and positivity whilst applying for jobs and attending several interviews. These are all instances whereby candidates have truly led by example. Offploy shares these stories with candidates on a regular basis in order to inspire and motivate others to achieve their own goals, and eventually lead by example themselves.
Overall We are proud of what we have learnt and achieved in our four years of service, but we recognise we still have a long way to go until we’re a sector leader in leading by example. If you have any thoughts on how we could improve our ability to lead by example, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read about our other values here.