Why Employees also Benefit from Corporate Philanthropy

182554_545598965479424_1547672823_nAt Softchoice employees receive two days per year to reach out to their local communities, volunteer time, and organize charitable events. Volunteering has not only become a Softchoice corporate passion, but has become an integral part of our values. With the leadership of the Softchoice Cares board (our employee-led philanthropy program),  volunteering and giving back has become rooted in our culture.

Employees choose to use their two days to contribute to causes that they’re passionate about – which makes an incredible impact on the communities around us. But what some organizations fail to understand is that corporate philanthropy doesn’t just make a difference to those outside the company, but also to those within. Volunteering gives employees an opportunity for personal and professional growth and provides excellent team-building opportunities! [Read more…]

Creating a More Strategic Corporate Giving Program

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Almost 150 years ago, Samuel Morse (yes, the inventor of Morse code), fired off the very first telegraph message between Washington and Baltimore, making him the first to ever achieve instantaneous, long-distance communication. Morse ushered in the era of communication technology that would allow for immediate access to information, better education, and broadened opportunities for populations across the world. After Morse’s invention went global, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  was formed in 1865. The ITU (which is still going strong today) marked May 17 as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The goal? Raise awareness of the many opportunities that technology can bring to communities around the world. [Read more…]

Four simple ways to encourage employees to bike to work!

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Joseph Byer leading the pack to celebrate Softchoice’s 2012 listing as one of Canada’s Greenest Workplaces by Maclean’s magazine!

It’s no secret that in North America, more and more commuters are choosing two wheels instead of four, or giving up their transit pass to avoid the crowded subways and busses. There are many more reasons than just traffic frustration as well including health benefits both physical and mental.

Aside from the reasons on the personal level, there’s no shortage of reasons for companies to promote the use of the bicycle as an efficient means to get to work every day.  For that to work, there are some things to consider that will encourage those would-be cyclists to drop the excuses and start pedalling!

As a year-round bike commuter, I’m lucky to to work for a company that not only provides shower facilities but also has a very casual dress code for regular in-office work days. Occasionally I may have to “suit up” to meet clients, but for the most part jeans and a T-shirt are perfectly acceptable.

So what can other business do to make it easier for employees to choose the cycling option?

[Read more…]

Driving Engagement through Employee-led Philanthropy

Tokens 4 Change

How do you get employees to come out and support a local charitable initiative on Toronto’s snowiest day in two years?  Have them take the lead on the cause!  According to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT survey, employee-led volunteer initiatives can significantly improve employee engagement, and subsequently improve productivity.  The activities can create a positive work culture and brand by uniting employees across departments behind a common cause and help improve morale and establish friendly relations.

As a new intern at Softchoice, I learned this first-hand when I volunteered at a fundraising event called Tokens 4 Change. The event is held every February to raise money for Youth Without Shelter; a Toronto-based, emergency youth residence and referral agency focused on removing barriers that prevent our homeless youth from becoming independent. [Read more…]

Softchoice Cares: Does aid really make a difference? [Video]

The first week of February marks International Development Week (IDW) – a time to explore and celebrate the difference volunteers are making around the world. In honor of this year’s event, Softchoice Cares – an employee-led philanthropic program focused on furthering computer literacy – has produced a video documentary of their 2012 trip to Bali. The team’s mission was to install new computer labs on behalf of seven Balinese orphanages managed by the Widhya Asih Foundation. But as the group learned, a ‘hand-out’ isn’t necessarily the same as a ‘hand-up’. [Read more…]

Mergers Fail when Cultures Clash

William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence yelled, “Freedom!” just before he was beheaded for treason. The attempted “merger” of Scotland with England was less than successful because the cultural differences were large enough to cause a war.

I have been involved in acquiring four companies over the past five years and while no wars have erupted, I can attest to the fact that cultural integration is the most nebulous and the most challenging. When cultures clash the hoped for synergies of an acquisition or merger disappear very quickly.

[Read more…]