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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Mondial Assistance benefits from CSR program
Article Type: HR at work From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 8, Issue 5
Short case studies that demonstrate best practice in HR
Rosanna FarrarRosanna Farrar is based at Mondial Assistance Marketing.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) brings together and engages all employees at all levels of a business, in a way that no other corporate program is able, thus creating a clearer focus and driving forward business success throughout a company. This can prove invaluable; especially at a time when businesses need every employee doing all they can to ensure the company rides the current economic storm.
Mondial Assistance, an international leader in assistance, travel insurance and personal services, first introduced a CSR program to its UK offices in 2000 and it has since continued to build momentum. This year sees it enter a new level of development with it being re-launched as “Mondiality” – Mondial+Responsibility = Mondiality. The rebranded program has provided a way for the company to further promote its CSR opportunities to its employees and to pull together all the elements of its CSR activity under one umbrella, demonstrating its values both internally and externally.
Central to the success of engaging staff and maintaining a focus on CSR activities is Mondial’s investment in employing a dedicated CSR advocate, Rosanna Farrar. This has been fundamental in ensuring that the program has continued to succeed over the years. Driven by Farrar, Mondiality is an integral part of the work culture and is key to the company’s commitment to giving something back to its staff and looking after their health and wellbeing. The program is also a much valued and recognized support for the local community, illustrating Mondial’s dedication to charities, community and education projects, conservation areas and the environment.
1 Power to the people
First and foremost, a CSR campaign should be aimed at stimulating motivation, supporting personal growth and ultimately providing professional reward for employees. People are at the heart of the Mondial business, which operates 24/7, 365 days a year. Achieving the right balance between work and the health, wellbeing and happiness of its people, positively impacts on the provision of excellent customer service.
Once a month employees are invited to a “Wellness Wednesday,” which offers lunchtime discussion groups, workshops, presentations or services relating to personal health and wellbeing. These include massage, leisure activities, nutritional advice, financial advice, self-defense workshops, and so on. Employees also benefit from subsidized yoga classes and accredited French and Spanish language classes twice a week. This again forms part of the firm’s commitment to giving back to its staff.
Furthermore, all employees are given the opportunity to use up to three working days per year to support the firm’s philosophy of “taking responsibility,” which underpins the Mondiality program. Staff can take advantage of this time to take a proactive role in supporting the local community and charities nationwide, as well as building their life skills and sense of personal fulfillment.
2 Raising funds and the bar
Last year Mondial Assistance raised approximately £30,000 for over 40 employee-nominated causes, including The Royal Marsden, Leukaemia Research and CHASE children’s charity. Fundraising initiatives include the following:
Mondial Assistance’s “One More Gift” Christmas campaign, launched in 2007, encourages staff to buy an extra Christmas present, which is donated to vulnerable elderly people, those in care or local hospital patients.
A three-year relationship with the British Heart Foundation, for which staff raise money through sponsorship of, and participation in sporting events.
Opening of the call center to accept pledges for the Comic Relief fundraising event. This year over 100 employees volunteered for the night and the call center took almost £78,000 in pledges from the general public.
In 2009, the Grass Roots Trust Fund was opened locally, which will allow Mondial Assistance to make a considerable contribution to what aims to be an important and beneficial legacy for small charities and community groups in the area for years to come.
As a dedicated and proactive founder-member of Croydon Commitment, a corporate-led social responsibility charity that promotes the work of local charities and voluntary groups, Mondial Assistance has been involved in several community based initiatives and fundraising events that collectively raised over £130,000 for staff-nominated charities last year.
3 Out of the office
Mondiality provides more than just charity fundraising opportunities and has been successful in encouraging staff to play a proactive role in long-term community projects. As part of this role, CSR executive Farrar sits on a number of local committees and boards, including Croydon Education Business Partnership (CEBP), Croydon Ambassadors and Croydon Business, ensuring Mondiality is at the forefront of local activity.
In 2008, educational projects included work placements, workplace visits, skills workshops and mentoring or reading partner schemes with local colleges and schools. Among these was a project involving approximately 200 managers and supervisors, who helped transform the outside space of local school Castle Hill Primary by clearing and landscaping parts of the grounds.
It is not just people that benefit from Mondiality. Each year Mondial Assistance employees make a visible difference to Farthing Downs and New Hill, a beautiful local area of land within the green belt managed by City of London. This forms part of the Mondial Assistance commitment to conservation projects and allows staff to get out of the office and take the time to learn about the local countryside and wildlife. They also get to play their part in maintaining local natural habitat for wildlife.
4 Going green
Finally, but equally important, as part of Allianz, one of the largest insurers in the world, Mondial Assistance in the UK has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2012. With help from its own Green Champion Team, Mondial Assistance has continued to work extremely hard to maintain, research and introduce environmental initiatives in all areas of the business, including recycling, energy saving, and pollution and waste reduction. During recent refurbishments, local charity ARC and local schools benefited from surplus furniture, large-scale artwork and lockers that were no longer needed.
As well as running its own internal Sustainable Business Innovations campaign, rewarding staff for putting forward their ideas for sustainable products and services, the company has paved the way for other local businesses by becoming a “Pathfinder” for a new innovation called the Carbon Hub. This internet-based networking system allows businesses to share environmental knowledge and best practice. In addition, Mondial Assistance has received a commendation for being a Green Guardian Green Business for 2008 and is on track to receive the ENVIBE Gold local environmental award by the end of this year.
5 Looking ahead
Mondial Assistance has lots of exciting projects planned for 2009, the aim of which is to engage as many people as possible at all levels of the business to give something back.
New initiatives include the Green Fairy Switch-off campaign, rewarding staff for switching off their computer monitors, and Farrar will be conducting regular Mondiality presentations to gain feedback and keep staff up-to-date on Mondiality news and projects. This year will also see ongoing support for Croydon Commitment and Mondial Assistance is hosting the first Croydon Neighbourhood Care Association Volunteer Roadshow to recruit volunteers for local roles, as it continues to bring staff and the local community together.
Creating the right balance between the needs of the business and the surrounding community, and also the needs of employees, can be very challenging. However, the results speak for themselves. Employee written feedback, including the Best Companies and Global Employee surveys, has shown that Mondiality is extremely popular and has captured the imagination and motivation of employees across the business. Many have been involved in activities on a regular basis and thoroughly enjoy them; while others have gone on to volunteer their support to charities in their spare time – having truly valued their CSR experience.
Annual short-term absence has fallen from 3.76 days in 2007 to 3.17 days in 2008 and staff turnover has also dropped to 17.6 from 22.68 percent in 2007, which clearly demonstrates direct benefits to Mondial Assistance’s business. While the decrease in staff turn-over and absences will be driven by a number of factors within the business, Mondial’s team of executive directors, along with its chief executive, Mike Webb, believe firmly that its commitment and focus on CSR is a very strong contributing factor.
About the author
Rosanna Farrar, marketing, internal communications and CSR team leader at Mondial Assistance, is responsible for Mondial’s CSR program in the UK. Prior to joining Mondial in 2006 Farrar worked on several fundraising events and initiatives for a number of charities and spent a year as a fundraiser for Marie Curie Cancer Care, one of the UK’s largest charities. Rosanna Farrar can be contacted at: rosanna_ email@example.com