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Paying It Forward: How Corporate Volunteering Thrives at Symantec

We all want to be part of a company that upholds the same values as we do. If we can find ways to demonstrate and support this, it's a win-win for all – our employees, our communities and our business.

We are sure of one thing: Our employees want to give back and they find value in it. Although FY12 was another economically challenging year for many people, Symantec employees continued to donate both time and money to their communities: Employee volunteer hours increased by 20 percent over FY11 for a total of 18,379 volunteer hours, and employee cash giving rose 14.4 percent to $791,714.

But growing a dedicated base of volunteers and donors can be challenging, especially when workloads are high and economic times are tough. So we've built a culture of volunteering that is supported by a variety of engagement opportunities:

Supporting the business

Symantec has four philanthropic priorities:

  • Science, technology, engineering, and math education (STEM)
  • Online safety
  • Diversity in engineering
  • Environmental responsibility

These issue areas help our company contribute to a sustainable and innovative technology industry. Our global network of more than 20 community relations-committees supports these focus areas through local-level charitable giving and employee volunteer projects. In this way, our 21,000 employees are joining together to impact those philanthropic issues most directly affecting our ability to do business.

Championing participation at all levels of the business

Championing the committees’ work at the executive level is a network of Senior Site Executives, typically the most senior staff member at a particular office location. These Executives lend their visible support to volunteer efforts, serve as conduits for information-sharing with the broader executive team, and represent the company at a variety of community events throughout the year.

Site-level community-relations committees work hand-in-hand with a variety of other site-level committees focused on specific issues material to our business. These include local-level Green Teams, Diversity Councils and employee resource groups. All collaborate with our community-relations committees to leverage partnerships and maximize opportunities for employee involvement.

Supporting individual causes

In addition to supporting our philanthropic focus areas, we also believe it is important to allow employees to pursue those causes most important to them, and to receive corporate support for those activities; our Matching Gift, Dollars for Doers, and Nonprofit Board Service Programs do just this.

Communicating internally and highlighting volunteer champions

Internal communications are key to the success of our volunteering program, and we make strong use of our corporate intranet to highlight the work being done by our employee volunteers. Additionally, we promote programs through New Hire Orientation, internal websites, our global community-relations committees, and through a series of intranet articles focusing on a “Volunteer of the Quarter.” Additionally, we recently launched a video discussing our culture of volunteering and the central role giving plays in Symantec's corporate values.

Furthermore, each quarter we publish a quarterly wrap-up of local activity focusing on one of our four philanthropic focus areas. This raises awareness and educates employees on the issue areas of primary concern to our business, our corporate efforts to strengthen these areas, and the aggregate employee effort directed at these issues. It also allows us to highlight inspirational stories at the local level.

Tracking results

Our employees give freely of their own time and money, and we want to make sure this is captured. To do this, we utilize Truist’s GivingStation platform where employees can log donations and hours online. Additionally, we reach out to local community-relations committees and fundraising groups to log as many untracked hours as we can.

At the end of the day, we have our employees to thank for our success. They are the ones that bring the program to life, inspire others and make true impacts in our communities and business. We look forward to building on this momentum next year and discovering more inspirational stories of those giving back.

As Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Rebecca Ranninger oversees strategic workforce management at Symantec. She manages the planning, direction and implementation of Symantec's global personnel programs and policies and participates in the overall executive management of the company.

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