SC Cares International Project 2015: Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural India!

TJatan Logohe countdown is on as the Softchoice Cares Board anticipates its departure to Rajasthan, India on February 6th for its next International Project! Softchoice’s employees and our partners support and donate time and money to local causes across North America throughout the year. To spread the orange even further, Softchoice Cares also chooses one organization to help bridge the digital divide across international borders every 18 months.

Improving education and training through technology!

Jatan PicThis year, our 12-person team will support Jatan Sansthan – a local, grassroots, not-for-profit organization that supports the rural villages of Rajasthan Province, India. Jatan’s vision is to have an equal, empowered society in India – and provides programs that give equal access to health care, advocacy and technology, with an emphasis on ensuring women and children have fair opportunities for education.

How is Softchoice supporting Jatan?

Jatan runs Education and Youth Resource Centers in the remote rural villages of Rajsamand districts of Rajasthan. Softchoice Cares is supporting the organization’s continued success by:

  • Providing computer resources and access to technology for over 240 students visiting Jatan’s Centers.
  • Supplying computers, educational software, and a strong network backbone to provide internet access.
  • Working together to help build the first of the organization’s three new facilities in a nearby village. (Jatan has already started on the foundation for the building – check out the pics below!)

The new technology set-up will improve Jatan’s ability to continue its success of achieving their vision and improving literacy rates amongst community children, and generating awareness towards education. In addition, approximately 10% of students will receive the improved vocational training required to obtain employment – something they may not have had the opportunity to do!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Jatan and help unleash potential by providing people with access to technology and edcuation in rural India!

You can stay updated on our progress in India by checking back on the CSR blog and Liking our SC Cares Facebook page for daily updates!

In the meantime, to learn more about Jatan’s programs, please visit the charity’s website.

Volunteering Keeps the Wheels of Change in Motion

Today is International Volunteer Day – declared by the United Nations to thank the many volunteers for their efforts and to increase public awareness on their contribution to society. November 29th also marked the first #GivingTuesday in the US.  This national day of giving marks the start of the annual holiday season, and celebrates and encourages charitable activities supporting non-profit organizations. I can’t think of a better time of year than at the brink of the holidays for these celebrations to occur and bring to light the need in our world . While many of us focus on our own wants that fuel typical mass consumption, it really is a time when all of us can be inspired to help the many others who need it.

Giving back doesn’t mean giving money, however. Volunteering your time and resources can make just as big an impact! Yet with 278 million people across North America, only 12.5 million Canadians actually donate their time and only 62.5 million Americans, according to Volunteer Canada and Volunteering in America. These are sobering stats given that on any given day, there are hundreds of thousands of charities and not-for-profit organizations that are in dire need of the support. [Read more…]

Maximizing Potential through Strengths-Based Development

Do you remember a time when you were fulfilled at work? Where you felt like you were “in the zone” and time flew by because you were working on something that fully leveraged your skills and strengths? If you haven’t experienced this in a while (or ever), then it’s a good time to dig deep and examine what you’re great at!

Not having a clear idea of what your core strengths are or even how to best leverage them can make it impossible to effectively build and develop them throughout your career. In fact, the book The Happiness Hypothesis asserts, “Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can really help improve the fit between your strengths and your job. It also provides insight into why some parts of a job are enjoyable while others may fill you with dread.”

At Softchoice helping employees better understand and develop their strengths is a core element in leadership development. In fact, Morepheus – one of Softchoice’s employee development programs for high-potential employees – has a particular component that helps them better understand their strengths and weakness so that they can further develop themselves and their leadership skills!

Program graduate Kara Ferdoussi shares what the program is all about and why learning more about herself is helping her in her role as HR Supervisor. [Read more…]

CSR Reporting 2.0: From Stats to Stories

**The following is an excerpt and link to a piece on Communicating CSR that I wrote for Sustainable Brands media outlet…

It seems there’s a gap for many organizations in reaping the benefits from their CSR programs.

A new Director Notes report called What Board Members Should Know About Communicating CSR, shows that awareness of a company’s CSR activities among its external, and even internal stakeholders, is typically low.  Not surprising given that the typical approach to CSR communications comes down to a once-a year, static PDF report that may never get read, or ends up getting buried in the back of an annual report.

So how can you communicate more than just what your organization is doing when it comes to CSR….how can you take more steps to engage your stakeholders in sharing your CSR story?

Read my full article here for insight into how other companies are using more social means to engage their stakeholders and tips to help you do the same!

Recognition at Softchoice:The Fashionable Side of Employee Rewards

The history of the necktie traces back to 1618. During the 30 Year War, pieces of cloth worn around the necks of Croatian mercenaries caught the eye of Parisians. They dubbed it the “cravat” and a fashion craze exploded. Softchoice has taken the necktie fashion craze even further…not only with a jacket, but by fashioning it into one of the company’s most prestigious sales awards – the Softchoice Tie Jacket Award.

So where did such a crazy idea come from?  [Read more…]

How to Get 20 Great Ideas from 900 Employees in 3 Minutes

After reading a flurry of Tweets that pointed me to IT World Canada’s list of Top Summer Blockbuster Movies with an IT Upgrade – I was inspired. With many creative co-workers spread across North America, I knew we could create an old school movie list with an IT twist!

But how could I quickly get everyone involved in the company and have some fun at the same time? Yammer did the trick! One quick question posted on our corporate Yammer network instantly spurred co-worker responses from Atlanta to Chicago to Seattle, Montreal, Toronto and more!

We’re a big company with office locations in cities throughout the US and Canada. Yammer helps us feel more connected to each other by making it easier to easily communicate across borders, provinces and states. We use it to share and comment on everything from team wins, employee success stories to industry news and more. But today was a great example of how we also use it to create energy and fun in a geographically diverse workplace. As we say, “We take our business seriously, but not ourselves”!

Our employees didn’t disappoint. Here’s their Top 20 Softchoice IT Movie hit list….enjoy! [Read more…]