Creating a culture of trust in the world of work
“As a small business, it’s important to take advantage of the support available. Schemes such as the C-Care technology vouchers are really useful in helping us to connect with potential new customers.”
With very few competitors in the field and issues in workplace culture a hot topic in the media, there’s arguably never been a greater need for the services iTrust provides, as Nick explains.
“We are a speak-up consultancy. We supply our app to businesses that allows staff to anonymously and safely report the more unsavoury things that can happen in the work place. But it’s also designed to be used in a positive way, too – to suggest change, or praise a colleague or organisation, for example. Employers can receive these reports and disclosures and use them to take positive action.”
The idea for iTrust first came to Nick while working in the police force in 2017.
“My background was in informant handling so I understood how difficult it is for people to report wrongdoing. It’s a massive step for someone to take. I really wanted to help create a safe environment within businesses for people to report things that had happened to them or they have witnessed,” he explains.
In 2019, iTrust first started trading, initially offering whistleblowing hotlines to grass roots sports clubs. It soon became clear that training was important to organisations as well, to help employees learn how to speak up and advise employers on how to use the reported information to implement change.
In 2020, Nick was approached by a Dubai based company that had developed a whistleblowing app and needed expert assistance on handling the reports that came in. Unfortunately, the collaboration didn’t work as planned and after a stint working with the company, Nick decided to create and design his own iTrust app.
In January 2022, the app went live. Available in any language and with the ability to be customised to suit the users, it forms part of an holistic approach to creating a ‘speak up’ culture which includes training, and consultancy. The first users are iTrust client and app collaborator, Maidstone-based construction company GENCO, as Nick explains.
“GENCO is a very forward-thinking organisation. Construction can be a highly stressful environment – in fact, the suicide rate in the industry among males is three times the national average,” he adds.
“They wanted to make their working environment even better and safer for their staff and one of the things they wanted to do was improve the way that ‘near misses’ on building sites are reported. So we partly designed the app with them and customised a button for them to do just that.”
There is already a lot of interest from others in the construction field as well as the sports and charity sectors. But it’s vital that clients are committed to working with iTrust to get the best out of the app for their business, as GENCO has done.
“It’s important that our users are invested in the app,” Nick explains. “This is not about creating a tick-box exercise; our app and training are designed to benefit both employees and employers.”
With this new arm to the business, Nick is keen to make use of the support available to small businesses to help with growth and development. Making contact with MBC and subscribing to its monthly business newsletter helps him keep up to date with opportunities. He recently became one of 50 Maidstone companies to successfully apply for £1,000 of C-Care Technology Vouchers, a scheme designed to help businesses take advantage of digital technologies.
“Although everything revolves around our app, we’re not a technology business ourselves but it’s important to use digital activity to grow,” Nick explains.
“I’m on MBC’s mailing list so I heard about the vouchers through them. They were simple to apply for and will be really useful for helping us connect with potential clients online. We’re planning on using them to improve our CRM. We also want to put them towards building on our social media presence and translating our followers into customers.”
The business also had success with the Kickstart scheme which helped them find their first employee, “Although we’re a team of eleven, we work as an associate network. We employed our creative administrator through Kickstart. He’s 24 and this was his first job. He’s just about to finish his final week but I’m pleased to say he’ll then be working for the tech company who developed our app.”
It’s not just iTrust keeping Nick busy – he’s also the co-founder of Worldly Wise, an organisation of 74 volunteer ambassadors who give their time for free to advise and prepare young people for their future. He’s also written two books on whistleblowing.
With the potential for his various ventures to reach far and wide, what made him choose Maidstone as a base?
“It’s an ideal place to do business, there’s lots going on and it’s the centre of the county,” he says. “The local council is so supportive and I’ve used facilities such as the Business Terrace and the business adviser, which have been great.”
“Our ambition is to make iTrust the biggest speak up consultancy in the world and we’ve got all we need to do that here.”
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