How Connecting Hands, Heads and Hearts Helps to Strengthen Organizational Culture
By Brooke Dayton, Sr. Client Engagement Manager, Great Place to Work®
Corporate philanthropy is a growing trend among great workplaces who want to broaden their company pride to their extended communities through contributions of time, skills, and funds.
These philanthropic initiatives can also serve the organizational culture, enhancing relationships, building collaboration, and shifting perspective. At this year’s Great Place to Work® Conference, Silicon Valley-based technology company and long-time Best Company to Work For, NetApp, sponsored a unique breakout session designed to teach participants the connection between philanthropy and enhancing collaboration, commitment and the importance of quality.
In the session, Annamarie Dunn, Global Great Place to Work Leader at NetApp, provided information on the company’s philanthropic efforts, particularly on NetApp’s Volunteer Time Off program. NetApp's program enables each employee to volunteer up to five, paid days per year, in support of the nonprofit or school of their choice. In 2011, 2,295 donated 37,661 hours of company time in local communities, valued at over $2.1 million.
In a hands-on simulation of a volunteer activity NetApp’s senior leaders recently completed, Conference attendees worked in trios or pairs to assemble a total of eight prosthetic limbs for victims of improvised explosive devices (IED). This work aims to serve those impacted by the approximately 100 million active landmines in over 60 countries, which cause 2,000 accidents each month. With an average cost of $3,000, many amputees cannot afford prosthetic devices. These devices cost only a few hundred dollars each, NetApp purchases and assembles the kits, ships them to the manufacturer for a quality check, and then delivers them to the victims of IEDs free of charge, and accompanied by notes and photos of those who helped assemble the device.
The impact to the recipients of their philanthropy is immeasurable. However, the internal impact is notable, helping participants to shift perspective, build new connections with employees with whom they do not regularly work, identify the strengths and skills of their colleagues, and understand how as individuals, and as NetApp, they have an impact on our world.
NetApp, a technology company based in Sunnyvale, CA, has more than 12,000 employees worldwide. NetApp has been on the Best Companies to Work For® list for the last 10 consecutive years and was most recently awarded the third spot on the inaugural list of the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces 2011.