Top organizations around the globe have consistently recognized Progress for our corporate culture. Just this year alone, Progress has won 10 awards for employee engagement and corporate social responsibility, including making Inc. and the Boston Business Journal’s best workplace lists. Because of these accolades, we wanted to highlight the people at Progress who make the company a great place to work.
We’re interviewing the people at Progress who make the company a great place to work with our newest blog series, The Progressers Who Make Progress Your Progress.These are the Progressers who are leading the unique work that makes Progress, Progress: From employee engagement activities and inclusion and diversity programming to professional development initiatives and charitable giving opportunities.
In this post, we’re introducing you to Lauren Walters, People Experience Partner for the Americas. She plays a key role in our corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, Progress for Tomorrow, as she has the extraordinary task of managing charitable giving and volunteering opportunities for our U.S. employees.
While this work is rewarding, there is a lot to consider when it comes to selecting organizations and initiatives the company should support, both at a corporate level and an employee level. In addition, one must always be on the lookout for new ways to engage employees with charitable giving activities about which they’re passionate.
Giving back has always been a priority for Progressers, and Lauren has done an amazing job creating programs for employees to engage with, from our Global Charitable Giving Program to our back-to-school drives.
If you’re looking for insight into how to create and manage philanthropic efforts at your company, Lauren has you covered. Read on to learn the top five things she wants you to consider for your CSR activities.
Employees truly care about their communities, so it’s important to provide programs that empower them to support causes they care about deeply. You can do this with something like a corporate donation program or identify local charitable events.
For example, we recently launched a Global Charitable Giving Program which invites employees to nominate organizations that benefit the community and the world at large. An internal team reviews these nominations on a quarterly basis and decides which ones Progress will donate to based on specific criteria. We love hearing employees’ stories. It’s uplifting to learn what our employees are already doing to serve their communities, and in turn, support their initiatives.
It was actually through this charitable giving program we learned a handful of our employees participate in the Dana-Farber Jimmy Fund Walk, a fundraising effort organized by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to help raise money for cancer research and patient care. We took this as an opportunity for Progress to have their own team participate in the walk this year.
Whether you have one office in one city or 40 offices across the globe, you should take a targeted approach to CSR so each employee has a chance to give back to the communities in which they live.
We have multiple offices in the U.S. and found that employees connect deeply to organizations within their local communities, so much so that we’ve been donating to some of the same organizations for years. For example, we’ve been supporting the Bedford, MA chapter of Dollars for Scholars for 20+ years!
It’s been gratifying to strengthen our relationships with these non-profits over the years, and it means a lot to our employees.
Identifying and organizing CSR efforts takes a lot of work. One person cannot do this work on their own, so you should consider forming local CSR committees that are made up of employees passionate about giving back.
These committees empower employees across the company to coordinate activities in support of the organizations they care about. They also help with brainstorming future initiatives to enhance our impact in our communities.
At Progress, one of our values is “Progress Collaboratively,” and we truly let that value guide how we work together. Because these committees are made up of Progressers who love partnering together to serve their communities, we’ve been able to lead fulfilling CSR work. For example, members of our Morrisville, NC office recently volunteered at the Tools4Schools store at WakeEd Partnership. The organization provides free classroom supplies to teachers in Wake County, one of the largest school districts in North Carolina.
You may be supporting your communities year-round, but popular “seasons” for giving back like back-to-school and designated philanthropic days like Giving Tuesday can provide more opportunities to amplify your CSR impact. Moreover, employees are aware of these “seasons” and will be more likely to engage with the efforts you’re coordinating.
It is crucial to identify CSR efforts your employees can engage with locally, but it is also necessary to map out how you hope to give back globally, if your budget allows. There are a lot of global events your company can support, but unfortunately, it is impossible to give back to every cause.
For us, one of our core pillars of Progress for Tomorrow is supporting communities affected by disasters and/or in need of emergency relief. We have donated to multiple organizations located in regions where we operate to support their COVID response efforts, provided aid to Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Haiti and Puerto Rico in response to extreme weather events and we have pledged $100,000 to the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Appeal for Ukraine.
The above five tips are just scratching the surface of the positive effect you can have on your communities at a local and global level. If there is one thing I can leave you with, it’s this: Operate with empathy.
Yes, you’re a business, but be mindful of the different life experiences of people across the globe, and always recognize the impact you can have at a human level.
Danielle Sutherby is a senior communications specialist at Progress, where she supports Progress’ employer brand efforts, raises awareness of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts, assists in PR activities, and strategizes employee engagement activities worldwide. Danielle is also the co-founder of the first employee resource group at Progress, Progress for Her, which aims to empower women at the company by providing leadership and networking opportunities. When she is not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.
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