‘Voxgro’ Garden Initiative at Voxpro
Voxpro – powered by TELUS International, is a global provider of customer experience solutions to the world’s leading technology companies, including Airbnb, Google and Nest. The company employs over 3,500 team members based in seven centres of excellence across Europe, the US and Asia; 1,800 team members work from Voxpro’s HQ in Cork.
In 2015 Voxpro launched The Innovation Awards – a CSR initiative that encourages team members to submit ideas for improving company culture, internal systems and processes, and employee engagement. Winning projects are piloted with a view to company-wide implementation.
One of the most successful initiatives to-date has been the ‘Voxgro’ garden project – an idea submitted by David Humber, a technical support specialist in Voxpro. David suggested using a small part of the green field site surrounding Voxpro’s HQ as an allotment where all team members could grow fruit and vegetables, connect with nature, and bond through teamwork.
Voxpro gave the idea its full support, and in the three years since that small allotment was created, Voxgro has grown into an extensive company garden featuring a bio-dome, a disco ball pizza oven, an outdoor bar, and a family of chickens. The company has even employed a horticulturalist, Kitty Scully, to oversee the project on a full-time basis. Kitty describes the positive impact Voxgro has already made: “At the core of Voxpro, human connection and multiculturalism are both valued and celebrated. My vision is to create quirky, unique and beyond beautiful earth-based experiences that will enhance the lives of individuals and communities around the world. Voxgro is a place to nourish nature, body and soul. The garden and dome are already epicentres for conversation, fun, food, learning, sharing, education, meetings, meditation, cultural exchange, relaxation, innovation and more. It can only get better.”
Alongside promoting communication and collaboration, Voxgro also encourages entrepreneurship. One example is VoxDetox – another winning project from the Innovation Awards that took its inspiration from Voxgro. VoxDetox uses the fruits, vegetables and herbs from the garden to create a range of juices that are available to company employees. The initiative has been so successful that the plan is to increase production and sell the juices (all of which take their names from Voxpro’s core values) locally.
As well as being a valuable resource for Voxpro team members, Voxgro is also serving the local community. The gardens are regularly opened up to members of the public, hosting tours and talks during events like National Heritage Week and the Cork Food Policy Harvest Festival. The intention is to build upon this progress and open up the space to local schools and even food producers. In this way, the project is helping Voxpro to become a central part of the local community, as well as one of its largest employers.
For a simple garden project, Voxgro has been a powerful force for good within this company. It has placed Voxpro firmly within the heart of the local community, boosted employee engagement and creativity (which has in turn created a culture of continuous improvement within the business), and the environmental benefits are clear to see. David Humber, Voxgro’s creator, believes that Voxpro has set an important example with this CSR project: “When some companies say that they have glass walls and open doors, they are usually just buzzwords. At Voxpro you’re encouraged to ‘DREAM BIGGER’ and given a level of freedom you just won’t find at other companies. Hopefully, others will take a leaf out of Voxpro’s book. I think it’s what is needed to make the really inspiring changes that we’re all hoping and, perhaps, need to see.”