What is this quarter’s theme?
This quarter we are going to align our volunteer program to a central theme: From Earth to Ocean. The aim of this is to galvanize a sense of connectedness around an important sustainability topic and drive employee engagement and interest in supporting key initiatives. We are holding four quarterly events where we offer employees volunteer leave aligned to a core theme. For instance, in December our focus was on Global Giving which is all about how people can think about giving back to society. During this campaign we had over 2,000 employees taking part in 76 different local events held across 24 countries. This helped us to contribute more than 3,000 hours of volunteering for local charities. Our World Clean Up day attracted around 6% of employees taking part globally and proved a popular and successful team building exercise. Due to their success, we will repeat our World Clean Up Day and Global Giving activities again this year with the aim of additional events in more countries, higher employee engagement, and ultimately make a bigger impact.
What are you most excited about this year?
This year we are embarking on a new global mentoring program run by a U.S. based charity. Its aim is to support underprivileged students in their final year of education. We help the students as they transition from academia into the workplace. The students are primarily, but not all, from countries in Africa such as; Uganda, Ghana, Zambia and Rwanda among others. Some students are even refugees living in camps and trying to start a new life for themselves. We help them to build their LinkedIn profile, create a CV and report on progress. It offers an alternative for employees who don’t want to go out litter picking or who would rather help remotely. The commitment required is one hour per week for a total of 14 hours. So far we’ve had over 75 sign ups from our employees across 17 countries and we hope to build on that over the year.
How do you feel about your job now?
I feel honored and privileged to be in my role. I had very little experience when I first began but put a lot of effort into leading the change so for me Covid was actually a help. The work I do now makes me happy because I know it’s having a big impact, which is really important to me, so I’m truly privileged to be doing this on a global basis.
What would be your advice to others to encourage them into volunteering?
I’d say it’s easy to be busy but volunteering is really important and shows others that you are trying to find the time to give something back. The feeling that it gives you is so rewarding and helps to improve mental health, will reinvigorate you and even make you more productive. The impact we can all have is huge. If all 40,000 employees were to spend the three days allowed to them for volunteer work that would equate to 120,000 days of service giving back to our society and special causes. It’s also a brilliant opportunity for getting your team together and doing something with a shared purpose, enjoying the fresh air and doing good at the same time.