Company: G.E. Aviation Turkey, Boston, MA USA
Nomination Category: Best CSR Strategy
What better expression of corporate social responsibility can there be than the active involvement of a company’s employees than merely writing a check?
That’s exactly what Turkey’s GE Aviation did in 2018 with remarkable results. Not only did the employees participate in record numbers (the initiative has been going on for 9 years), but the reach and impact increased exponentially.
While GE Aviation globally has been active in CSR for decades, and Turkey played a role accordingly, in 2018 the Turkish team devised an HR strategy and execution plan unrivalled by any other geography.
Keep in mind that the Turkish lira suffered a massive 60% decline in value in 2018 and ensuing inflation was even greater than that, the company was doubtful about the kind of impact a CSR program could have, given budget cuts.
But HR led the way in providing social support to the local community in which the employees worked that would have a minimal impact on the corporate budget.
Here’s how it worked:
With the participation of two leaders and 13 core members, HR formed a “GE Aviation Volunteers Committee” to outline the strategy and draft execution initiatives.
The purpose of the CSR initiative driven by the HR department was to:
· Increase employee awareness of social issues in the region
· Raise sensitivity of specific social needs locally
· Fund the programs
· Elicit active employee participation, minimally 100 employees
The overall theme (roughly translated from Turkish) was “Contribute to Society by Volunteering.”
The Volunteers Committee brainstormed areas in which initiatives could be made and settled on 7:
· Donation of goods
· Animal protection
· Handicapped support
· Women’s opportunities
In January, the initiative came to life, as follows:
Aiming to embed corporate social responsibility throughout the company, the HR team facilitated the launch of the 2018 Volunteer initiative through live events and companywide communications:
-Pin Board (All Volunteer announcements and recognitions shared in the Volunteers physical pin board)
-Yammer Group (GE Aviation’s corporate social network, where employees can create groups, share announcements, updates)
-TTC Digest (Internal biweekly newsletter)
-Web Chats (organized by volunteers committee to discuss/plan/implement projects
LIVE AND FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS
-AllHands meetings (In these quarterly meetings all important updates are shared with all employees)
-Mentoring (In collaboration with our Women In Technology Initiative, mentorship is offered to secondary school girls for their empowerment)
The initiatives were implemented in stages, roughly two months apart with some overlapping. This ensured that the employees were not overwhelmed by the activities nor time demands for their participation. Additionally, the outcomes were more effective given the focus and dedication of the participating employees.
Not only did the CSR initiative improve the lives of children, women, families, handicapped people, and animals in the area – it also served as a form of team building for the participating employees. Team morale was boosted as employees also enjoyed the benefits of helping others.
· 150 employees participated in the initiatives
· 390 employees were reached through various companywide communications
· 15 events, 7 seminars were implemented during the calendar year
· Around $2,000 USD equivalent in funding was raised and/or donated to support the programs
Coupled with GE Aviation’s programs in Women in Technology, HealthAhead, Mentoring Girls, Hobby Clubs – all quite unusual in the Turkish technology sector – GE Aviation’s Volunteers CSR activity played a role in attracting the kinds of employees the company sought in its recruiting efforts.
While not a specific goal of this program, employment applications increased by 69% and employee referrals by 126% in 2018, conceivably impacted by the novel CSR initiative.
The GE Aviation Turkey Volunteers Strategy was to involve employees directly in social programs to support the community where the company works. Key features/results:
· 120 attendees joined 7 seminars to increase awareness about social problems/volunteering on health, animal protection, Women Entrepreneurs, helping poor people, child rights
· 15 volunteer events organized
· 7,500 views of testimonials by beneficiaries in videos
· 200+ children received clothing&stationery donations
· 12 cats were adopted; 1,500+ kilos of cat food were bought
· 80 kilos of plastic cups collected to redeem for cash for wheelchair donations
· 40 saplings planted
· 25 blood/18 stem cell donors
· 15 volunteers beautified a children’s hospital dialysis treatment center
· 17 colleagues&5 family members donated/participated to improve elementary school
· 10 volunteers served soup to homeless people
· day-long charity bazaar at our site generated income to be donated to several programs