Since the pandemic began, many companies have been refining their virtual volunteering initiatives and what they are building seems set to outlast the health crisis
There is a fair chance that a call to the Delhi Government’s helpline for COVID-19 positive people will be answered by a Genpact employee. More than 200 Genpact employees are engaged in managing the 24X7 helpline, recording the COVID-19-related questions and passing them on to officials. Besides, the questions are fed into excel sheets for data analysis. According to a communication from Genpact, this system has lopped off five hours from the time it usually took to generate analytics for a single day.Genpact offers its employees 23 pandemic-related, online micro-volunteering activities and encourages to set aside an hour’s volunteering time every week. It can be found via its Goodera portal, where the hours of volunteering done by every employee is clocked. “For every micro-volunteering opportunity, we measure the average time required to complete the activity. Additionally, an employee has the option of rating the activity, providing feedback, sharing photos, and recording the time invested in the activity,” says Sasha Sanyal, Global Business Leader, Insurance, Diversity and CSR, Genpact.Lenovo is keeping all its volunteering activities virtual until March 2021. To make e-volunteering engaging, it offers monthly thematic skill-based and non-skill-based activities. Every registered employee’s volunteering hours are recorded. Pratima Harite, Head, Philanthropy, Asia Pacific, Lenovo, says that in virtual volunteering, multiple initiatives in smaller groups make for huge engagement as against a single onsite volunteering initiative that attracts large numbers of people.“We have started communicating internally about multiple initiatives to draw employees. Previously, this communication would go with individual NGO requirements as they were onsite and we would probably do just two events in a quarter,” says Pratima Harite.Recently, Cipla launched its virtual volunteering platform that offers employees a choice of volunteering initiatives. Raju Mistry, President and Global Chief People Officer, Cipla, points out that the major difference between pre- and post-COVID volunteering initiatives is that earlier the activities for employees were on an ad hoc basis.“Now on a monthly basis, we are creating at least 100 opportunities for our employees to participate in social causes,” says Raju.Led by employeesAt Amdocs, volunteering is employee-led with different verticals linked with a couple of non-profits. Rajat Raheja, Division President, Amdocs India, says employee volunteering had initially taken a hit due to the pandemic but it’s now back, and the plan is to continue with activities that the company was earlier associated with, by moving them online.He says the focus now is not about how much the organisation can do but understand the needs of non-profits and extend support accordingly.“Our employees used to mentor school students, now we offer the same mentoring support virtually,” says Raheja.“We have a mail that goes out every Monday, inviting people to sign up for various causes. Besides, our unit leaders talk to their teams about these causes. We encourage employees to come forward and say that this is what they want to associate with,” says Raheja.With virtual volunteering, corporates declare, the scope of certain initiatives has broadened, as geography is not a constraint.“Our team from the Puducherry manufacturing unit worked with employees of the Bengaluru office to raise funds among families and friends to support the purchase of rations for widows and single women in villages around Puducherry,” says Pratima. With a rewards and recognition programme, many companies are ensuring greater participation of their employees in e-volunteering initiatives.
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