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Win-win for Wayside and Macquarie

15 Dec 2016

An in-house development course designed to build Macquarie employees’ collaboration skills and challenge their business thinking has had the twin benefit of helping well-known Sydney community organisation the Wayside Chapel over the last two years.

The program is the joint effort of Macquarie’s Financial Management Group learning and development (L&D) team and the Macquarie Group Foundation. Dubbed the ‘FMG Foundation Lab’ program, it uses the skills of Macquarie staff to solve a challenge faced by The Wayside Chapel.

In 2016, this challenge was for Wayside to better understand the true costs of its programs and to establish financial management tools to ensure the organisation was able to adapt and flourish in a changing landscape of government funding and service delivery.

Wayside’s Laura Henry said the charity was keen to undertake the lab with Macquarie to explore a meaningful way to connect the two organisations for mutually beneficial outcomes.

“Resources are thin on the ground, so access to Macquarie’s skills and resources met a need within our organisation to build capacity,” she said.

She was pleased that the 2016 program produced very tangible outcomes, with a financial model handed over at the end of it, together with a training manual and an implementation plan.

“These are of enormous value to Wayside and place our organisation far ahead of the pack in terms of being ready for the changes to government funding.

“But one of the greatest benefits from the lab was absorbing the way Macquarie works - from time management and templates used, to less tangible learnings like tenacity and team work.”

FMG L&D manager Emily Carr said providing skilled volunteering opportunities through a structured program challenged Macquarie participants to test their business competencies (such as decision-making, adapting to change, problem solving, negotiation, strategic thinking and communication) in an unfamiliar environment.

2016 lab participant Emily Cains said she greatly enjoyed visiting and learning more about Wayside and, while many in the group were a little nervous initially and were unsure what they could contribute, they were proud of the finished product.

“It was a fantastic experience in many ways, particularly because of our ability to pull through with a solid result and great feedback,” she said.

Image caption: Participants at a Wayside lab planning meeting.