This post was written by Rebecca Ranninger, Symantec Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, and President of the Symantec Foundation.
Although FY12 was another economically challenging year for many people, Symantec employees continued to donate both time and money to their communities. Employee volunteer hours increased by 20 percent over FY11 for a total of 18,379 volunteer hours. Additionally, during the same time frame, employee cash giving rose 14.4 percent to $791,714. Symantec added nearly $694,000 to this in company matched funds through our Dollars for Doers program.
At Symantec we are sure of one thing. Our employees want to give back and they find value in it. We all want to be part of a company that upholds the same values as we do. If we demonstrate and support this, it's a win-win for all – our employees, our communities and our business.
But growing a dedicated base of volunteers and donors can be challenging, especially when workloads are high and economic times are tough. At Symantec, we've built a culture of volunteering that is supported by a variety of engagement opportunities:
Supporting the business
Symantec has four philanthropic priorities:
- Science, technology, engineering, and math education
- Online safety
- Diversity in engineering
- Environmental responsibility
These issue areas were selected because they help our company contribute to a sustainable and innovative technology industry. Our global network of more than 20 community relations committees support these focus areas through local-level charitable giving and employee volunteer projects. In this way, Symantec’s 21,000 employees are joining together to have an impact on those philanthropic issues most directly affecting our ability to do business. They are helping to ensure a talented pool of educated young people from which we can hire future employees; drive environmental sustainability within the technology sector; teach children, seniors, and other at-risk populations how to safely operate in our connected online world; and foster an innovative and diverse work environment by encouraging girls and other minorities to pursue engineering careers.
Championing participation at all levels of the business
Championing the committees’ work at the executive level is a network of Senior Site Executives, typically the most senior staff member at a particular office location. These Senior Site Executives lend their visible support to volunteer efforts and serve as conduits for information sharing with the broader executive team at Symantec. They also represent Symantec at a variety of community events throughout the year.
Site-level community relations committees work hand-in-hand with a variety of other site-level committees focused on specific issues material to Symantec’s business. These include local-level Green Teams, Diversity Councils, employee resource groups such as SymPride, the Hispanic Outreach and Leadership Affinity (HOLA) group, and the Symantec Women’s Action Network (SWAN). All collaborate with our community relations committees to leverage partnerships and maximize opportunities for employee involvement.
Supporting individual causes
In addition to supporting Symantec’s philanthropic focus areas, we also believe it is important to allow employees to pursue those causes most important to them, and to receive corporate support for those activities. Our Matching Gift, Dollars for Doers, and Nonprofit Board Service Programs do just this allowing employees to gain corporate support for any activity with a registered nonprofit organization.
Our Matching Gift Program pays a dollar-for-dollar match of employees’ personal charitable contributions up to $1,000 USD per employee per year. Dollars for Doers makes a donation of $15 per volunteer hour, up to $1,000 USD per employee per year. If an employee sits on a nonprofit Board of Directors, they can request a lump-sum Dollars for Doers payment of their full annual allotment without accounting for hours.
Communicating internally and highlighting volunteer champions
Internal communications is a key to the success of our volunteering program. We make strong use of our corporate intranet to highlight the work being done by our employee volunteers. Additionally, we promote programs through New Hire Orientation, internal websites, our global community relations committees, and through a series of intranet articles focusing on a “Volunteer of the Quarter.” Additionally, we recently launched a video discussing our culture of volunteering and the central role giving plays in Symantec's corporate values.
Furthermore, each quarter we publish a quarterly wrap-up of local activity focusing on one of our four philanthropic focus areas. This raises awareness and educates employees on the issue areas of primary concern to Symantec’s business, our corporate efforts to strengthen these areas, and the aggregate employee effort directed at these issues. It also allows us to highlight inspirational stories at the local level.
Our employees give freely of their own time and money, and we want to make sure this is captured. To do this, we utilize Truist's GivingStation platform where employees can log donations and hours online. Additionally, we reach out to local community relations committees and fundraising groups to log as many un-tracked hours as we can.
At the end of the day, we have our employees to thank for our success. They are the ones that bring the program to life, inspire others and make true impacts in our communities and business. We look forward to building on this momentum next year and discovering more inspirational stories of those giving back.
A huge hank you to all of our employees who continue to contribute to their communities! You inspire us! What causes do you support and have you volunteered to support those? Is one of your team members an inspiring volunteer? We'd love to hear from you!
Rebecca Ranninger is Symantec’s Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, and President of the Symantec Foundation. This article was developed for Sustainable Brands July Issue in Focus on Employee Engagement.