With the onset of the holiday season, organizations conclude the calendar year by celebrating the holiday period with their employees, customers and partners alike. While the holiday season is considered a time for family, peace and relaxation, it is also a time to remember those less fortunate within the communities that we live and work in.
Throughout this period, many organizations embark on making a concerted effort in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to help the less fortunate at a time when nobody should feel alone or isolated.
That’s not to say that CSR efforts for any organization should be a one-time affair. A Forbes article[i] highlights that, “A company’s approach to impact is a reflection of that company’s values – and the values of its customers, employees and (increasingly) investors.”
At Ricoh, CSR is intrinsically linked to its values of the Ricoh 3 loves (Love your neighbour; Love your country and Love your work). These values act as guiding principles not only for Ricoh’s CSR initiatives, but also for its counterparts in Environment and Governance. Efforts by Ricoh on all three fronts are year-round activities and are considered part of the business which employees take pride in.
The influence of the Ricoh 3 loves aligns with Ricoh’s commitment in supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG #2 (zero poverty), #3 (good health and well-being) and #17 (partnerships for the goals).
When practicing CSR initiatives for your organization consider the following:
Execute CSR initiatives that will make a difference to your communities
When identifying which CSR initiatives to pursue, consider partnering with an organization that can support your CSR efforts across the entire organization. This resonates particularly for those companies that may have multiple locations across the country. It forces organizations to ask themselves ‘How can we make a difference for all the communities where we have a presence?’
Ricoh works with the United Way – an organization dedicated to supporting and developing communities across North America. The United Way actively works with Ricoh throughout the year to identify community groups across Canada that would benefit from Ricoh’s support. By doing so, the collective CSR efforts at a local level contribute to one cohesive effort on a national basis.
Support meaningful organizations
Every single one of your employees are part of a community which may be experiencing a plethora of issues that either directly effects or is meaningful to them. From a corporate perspective, how do you determine which community groups to support as opposed to others?
The first place to start is consider those community groups that are meaningful to the communities your employees, customers and partners belong to. Secondly, what communities do you want to promote your organization’s presence in?
The partnership between Ricoh and the United Way over the past twenty-four years has been forged through recognizing that at any given point in time, many Ricoh employees have or will rely on the support on a United Way agency.
An example of this would be the efforts of the Ricoh team in Calgary. The team regularly volunteers at the Ronald McDonald house to cook meals for families absent from their homes while their children are in hospital receiving medical treatment. During one of the latest volunteer sessions at the Ronald McDonald house, the team discovered one of their peers was residing there while his son was receiving treatment.
Exercise CSR when it counts
CSR activities should not be exercised on the organization’s terms but according to the needs of the communities that they support.
With the holiday period habitually being the time of the year where there is a shortage of food, shelter and necessities, Ricoh remains committed to supporting those community groups both in advance of and during the month of December.
Every November Ricoh runs a month-long internal United Way campaign where employees pledge to donate a small portion of their bi-weekly pay to the United Way. The donations are used for the year ahead to positively support and impact United Way agencies across Canada.
December also signifies a time when Ricoh tries to support as many of its community organizations as possible. In Calgary the team donates funds to fill hampers for the residents of the Brenda Strafford Centre – an organization dedicated to serving families that are victims of domestic violence with housing and support services so they can live safely in the community. Each donated hamper contains 28 items to get a family started as they depart from the center and restart their lives.
Likewise, since 2012 Ricoh employees have creatively dressed over 500 Teddy Bears and donated them to children across Canada that will be spending the holiday period in hospital. This has become an annual tradition for Ricoh with many employees across multiple locations getting involved. The creativity of the bear’s outfits gets better every year as they bring holiday cheer and spirit to children in the community.
While food bank donations are made regularly throughout the year, during the holiday season Ricoh makes an extra special effort to provide struggling families with a Christmas meal. Every year, Ricoh’s Executive Management Team takes time out of the schedules to volunteer at the Knight’s Table not only to donate non-perishable food items but to help staff at the Knight’s Table prepare a meal for the community.
Whatever degree of effort your organization commits to in supporting its communities, remember that any small act of kindness can make a huge difference to those in need throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Learn about Ricoh’s efforts in Corporate Social Responsibility as we strive to support and develop stronger communities for all.