NetSuite is showing that with the right effort a CSR program can make a significant difference to a variety of non profit organisations. For the second year NetSuite has organised a week of giving back for its staff. From 17-21 October NetSuite staff will be able to volunteer for a variety of organisations across the world. Last year, more than 1,000 employees volunteered for more than 3,000 hours across 78 organisations. This year, NetSuite already have a list of 93 events organised during the week, with more due to be added. Employees are able to donate 16 hours of fully paid time off to help with local charities.
NetSuite also empowers individuals with the right to make a difference on their own. Individuals who already work with charitable organisations or who find their own cause to support, can allocate their volunteer hours to them. This allows all employees to participate, even if they are not local to the opportunities already given, or have their own personal interest in a specific worthy cause.
Diversity and inclusiveness
The NetSuite CSR team and a team of global SuiteImpact ambassadors have organised local events to help specific charities. These range from as simple as a food donation drive, sorting clothing and preparing meals for the homeless in Durham. To making audio books for the blind in Bangkok. In the UK the offered charities are Bike to Africa and Blue Acre Horse rescue in Old Windsor. Bike to Africa recycles and sends bikes to Africa to help people with transport that can make a significant difference to their lives, Blue Acre Horse rescue is an animal rescue centre that acts as a rescue centre for many different types of animals. It is named after its first rescue animal.
What is impressive is that NetSuite has created a portal for staff to make it easier to volunteer. It saves time for employees as they can match themselves against a charity and a workflow process then ensures that they receive managerial approval for the time off. This interface takes some of the efforts out of the administration that is often the barrier for people actually going out to spent time volunteering. The promoted week of effort also helps with that as well. In total, NetSuite employees have volunteered more than 23,000 hours since the founding of its Suite impact program in 2013.
Lessons learnt from SuiteImpact
NetSuite uses software to help administrate the process. In promoting a Global Impact week, they can gather a huge momentum within the company to really make a difference. There are therefore some really simple lessons for companies who really want to emulate this kind of CSR program.
- Identify local charities that need help in the vicinity of your local offices.
- Organise events across a single week in a year. Employees will not all be absent at the same time and the approval process also ensures that managers can maintain a level of staffing that allows the business to function.
- Allow individuals to carry out their own approved volunteering staff as not everyone wants to help certain types of charity.
There are several advantages of such a program. NetSuite will really make a difference to the local communities where it works. In turn, other companies will notice the efforts made and take up similar programs. For NetSuite employees there is not just the feel good factor of helping but also a degree of team building as well. Companies often find that departmental barriers exist and in bringing together people from different areas in a business it can strengthen company culture.
Companies can make a difference
Many companies already organise different CSR events. For smaller organisations such as Tableau they aim to help charities using their analytics skills. Sage has a strong CSR program under the banner of 2+2+2, with Salesforce delivering a 1+1+1 program. Whatever the program the aim is to make a difference to the communities in which each company works. NetSuite will almost certainly achieve that. As Erin Dieterich, Corporate Citizenship Director for NetSuite.org commented: “After an incredible showing by employees last year, I can’t wait to see the creative ways our employees choose to give back during this year’s event. With more than 25 offices and over 5,000 employees, NetSuite has the potential to have an incredible impact in the communities where we live and work.”
What larger organisations could do is also open up some of these events to a wider participatory group such as their channel. This would not necessarily be that straight forward. NetSuite already does this at its annual convention SuiteWorld where 86,000 meals were packed for children in developing countries.
NetSuite are not just looking for their employees to sign up. They are also seeking local charities who wish to receive volunteer hours. Charities interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.