To put into context the amount of time Dell Bratislava dedicated to voluntary work in 2013, almost three quarters of the site’s workforce gave up close to 15,000 cumulative hours to support causes close to their hearts. In fact almost 1,300 Dell team members from the company’s office building on Fazuľová street were involved in volunteering. They cleaned up public spaces, helped non-profit organizations, or co-organized events for children and families. Given the level of participation, it could be said that Dell’s Global Business Center in Bratislava is also the city’s volunteering center. Its contribution to the local community is evident: cleaner streets and parks, greater numbers of cheerful children and content parents, more liters of blood donated, and more money raised to fight cancer. Nonetheless, what are the benefits for Dell itself, considering the lost time team members spend away from their desks?
Volunteering is a key component of Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan1, which is organized into three areas of focus: action to benefit the environment, strengthen communities, and engage people in a diverse and inclusive workforce. Dell has seen how community activities can foster talented and satisfied team members and that a happy workforce can be a major competitive advantage. But it’s not just about current employees, but also about attracting new team members in a competitive job market. Volunteer activities can also help the company strengthen its brand reputation and increase its attractiveness as an employer. When Nexteria asked students in 2014 what employer they imagined working for as part of their “dream job”, Dell ranked among the top five companies.
What is more, feedback collected via Dell’s annual global team member survey suggests that those in Bratislava who volunteer appreciate their company because “it does not only care about its profits, but also its surroundings”. This corresponds to the global findings as a whole with Dell’s Global FY14 Corporate Social Responsibility report2 citing 81 percent of Dell team members responding favorably to the statement, “Dell does a great job contributing to the community where I live and work.”
The significant involvement of Dell’s workforce in Slovakia has created a great deal of interest locally, as it is extraordinary given the local conditions. In fact, the rate has intrigued a number of Slovak experts and sociologists, who have decided to conduct research through the Pontis Foundation on how to get more employees involved in activities.
Sometimes all you need to do is give a “nudge“
You cannot make employees get involved in volunteering. They have to find themselves in a situation when either they or people they know see an opportunity to help others through volunteer work. Dell is based on a bottom-up principle. Rather than the company itself, it is the company’s team members who make decisions about activities they get involved in, using their passions and unique skills to support the causes they’re most passionate about. This approach supports building a proactive corporate culture as a result.
It follows, then, that money does not turn out to be the key motivating factor for individuals. It seems more important for them to see that the company is prepared to use its own resources for a good cause – such as providing a meeting room for a creative workshop for children or securing the tools necessary for cleaning up Bratislava’s Medická Garden.
Acting locally, thinking globally
Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan seeks go beyond just outlining areas of focus to enable people everywhere to grow and thrive and reach their full potential, but also to measure the impact the company is making with its 21 social and environmental goals that guide how the company operates and uses its technology to do the most good for people and the planet. The plan includes Dell’s focus on community service with a global objective to get 75% of team members engaged and involved in volunteering by 2020 and provide five million cumulative hours of service.
Dell’s global community service approach also comes with a global donation initiative, where team members have a chance to turn the hours they spend doing volunteer work into financial support for local non-government organizations and foundations. For every 10 hours of volunteering tracked in an online portal, team members receive $150 they can donate to a charity of their choice in Slovakia. Last year, Dell Slovakia team members donated a total of over$54,000 as a result of this initiative.
Jana Hudecová, CSR Coordinator, Dell Global Business Center in Bratislava