21. 03. 2017 Corporate responsibility

Good neighbourhood and the best teambuilding

If you are to like the taste of volunteering, you must have a bite. That is an advice that experts gave in a seminar on corporate volunteering.

Enhancing employees’ loyalty, developing their skills and strengthening a company’s brand. That is just a few of examples of how helping others can help your company. Experts from well-known companies shared their experience with setting up and developing a corporate volunteering programme with over 100 HR, communication, and CSR managers. The seminar on corporate volunteering was held at Slovenská sporiteľňa in Bratislava on 16 March.

Skanska SK: Good neighbours with a good constructor

The business plan of the construction company Skanska SK until 2020 focuses on four main goals – safety, ethics, diversity, and inclusion, and community investment. A good constructor can also be a good neighbour,“ said Magdaléna Dobišová, the CEO of Skanska SK, during the seminar.

Skanska SK started its volunteering programme Lend a Hand in 2014. At first, the company allocated one particular day for volunteering, but not many employees could participate due to urgent work. Since 2015 the employees have therefore been allowed to take their volunteering day during Volunteering Week.

Magdaléna Dobišová emphasized the importance of well-set communication. Managers like prompt, clear, and quantifiable arguments.” Employees, on the other hand, need space for their own initiative: Our employees create a team, agree on the leader of the team and select an activity in a given location. After they have performed the activity, they post pictures on the intranet, share their experience, and give feedback.”

The CEO of SKANSKA is convinced that investing in a community gives a company a considerable competitive advantage. Everybody in villages and towns can see us building there. If we also help the communities, our relationships acquire a different dimension. We are paving a path to better communication and further assignments.”

Like in other cases, a volunteering programme needs to be started by an enthusiastic individual, whose example and patient argumentation will convince others. In order to like the taste of volunteering, you must have a bite,” concluded Magdaléna Dobišová.

The best teambuilding

We understand volunteering as a tool for the development of our employees. Several of them made volunteering their lifestyle,“ said Magdaléna Korbová, the head of the Department of Marketing at DM Drogeriemarkt Slovakia, opening her presentation. The company upgraded its volunteering programme in 2015. A working group composed of the representatives of all the company’s divisions, including area managers and branch operational managers, produced the initiative DM Together.

The initiative wants the theme of volunteering to permeate the whole company. The employees are encouraged to recommend interesting non-profit projects, they are also involved in their evaluation, and they can also coordinate one of them. Besides non-profit organizations, DM Together also aims to involve customers. The company’s webpage www.dm-spolocne.sk, where non-profit projects are registered and evaluated, invites the customers to join selected volunteering activities.

Jana Hudecová, Program Manager of the company DELL, recommends a gradual introduction of volunteering. Years ago, the company added small volunteering activities to teambuilding events. This practice proved successful, and nowadays the volunteering itself is taken for teambuilding. Since 2010 the employees have been entering their volunteering hours into a global system. Those who have spent at least 10 hours a quarter volunteering get a financial voucher which they can use to support an organization they like.

Confidence as a foundation stone

DELL does not employ a coordinator specializing in volunteering; these activities are decentralized to individual departments. This system, however, works because 60-70% of our employees are involved in volunteering activities,” said Jana Hudecová.

Also Slovenská sporiteľňa provides its employees with a possibility to choose a non-profit organization they want to help, a particular activity they are going to perform and when they are going to take their day off for volunteering (embodied in the collective agreement). We don’t require the employees to deliver a proof of their volunteering. We just want them to send us pictures or feedback. Some of the pictures have been included in the company’s table calendar,“ said Vanda Struháriková, an HR specialist at Slovenská sporiteľňa. The company also has had good experience with a presentation of non-profit organizations and their activities for the employees in the premises of the company.

The event was concluded by Tatiana Čaplová and Marek Richter from the Pontis Foundation, who introduced the biggest corporate volunteering event in Central Europe in their presentation. If you don’t know how to start with volunteering and you lack the first experience, you can register your company for Our City 2017by Friday, 24 March.

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