Purposeful Conversations With Fiona Gardener
6 March 2019 at 8:46 am
As part of our series of Purposeful Conversations with CSR professionals, Ellie Nikakis from Vollie sits down with Fiona Gardener of Adecco to talk about what staff want from corporate volunteering.
How and why do companies make the choice to incorporate sustainability and social responsibility initiatives into their strategy?
For Adecco, the decision was a no-brainer.
“It’s something that’s important to our staff and our colleagues,” corporate social responsibility group manager Fiona Gardener says.
“So that’s probably one of the main reasons why we created the CSR program in the first place, because it was something our staff were saying we very much needed to do.”
The HR services firm takes a methodical approach to its CSR, splitting efforts across five distinct pillars – corporate volunteering, the Wellness at Work initiative, diversity and inclusion, global initiatives, and community engagement.
It’s something Gardener notes as an effective draw card for the company, making them a highly desirable employer for graduates and millennials who are more likely to sacrifice salary for a company with an active community engagement program.
“I think as a general package, what our staff get out of it is a sense of pride in being able to work for an organisation that is able to offer those things to our staff,” she says.
With around 30,000 staff to manage across a global presence, the capacity for technology to help deliver on these initiatives is too valuable to ignore.
“We are always looking at ways we can use some of our very clever people in the technology space to develop digital solutions, or creative solutions for our not-for-profit partners,” Gardener says.
It’s changing the way that people are giving back.
Even though many of Adecco’s staff still enjoy hands-on volunteering, they’re quickly realising just how diverse “giving back” can really be.
“A lot of our staff are saying, well I’ve got this skill, why don’t I use this skill to help a not for profit develop an app, or come up with a creative way to do something perhaps they haven’t thought of doing?” Gardener says.
She has seen the interest employees have in volunteering flourish – meaning that when opportunities arise to get involved with local communities, they are quickly snatched up.
Having worked previously in not for profits such as Make A Wish and Mission Australia, Gardener has witnessed the positive impact social giving creates from both ends of the spectrum.
“For companies that perhaps are contemplating, if they don’t already have a corporate volunteering program and are thinking of establishing one, I would say definitely do it,” she says.
“There are just a lot of benefits and not too many downsides from where I sit.”
Update: Fiona Gardener no longer works for Adecco. This article is based on an interview conducted on 5 April 2018.
About the author: Ellie Nikakis is the PR and marketing coordinator for Vollie, an online marketplace that connects skilled people to not for profits, charities, and social enterprises for skills-based online volunteering.
This article is part of a monthly series of Purposeful Conversations by Vollie, in which we sit down with a range of CSR managers in the Australian business landscape about their interpretations of the CSR space.