The global Corona crisis has drastically changed every single aspect of our lives.
As a result, organizations must now cope with a variety of new challenges – economic, emotional, professional, and health-related. Employees must also deal with drastic changes in the family environment, structural changes in the workplace, as well as pressure and emotional stress relating to the virus.
It is in these crucial times that companies are expected to play a central role and do as much as they can for their employees and their families, customers, and vendors. They must demonstrate their commitment towards the community and weak sectors of the population.
The global Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 checked brand trust before and during the Corona pandemic. Among the main insights of the report are that employers that recognize how to respond to these needs will benefit from increased trust and will reinforce their organizational sense of belonging and reputation as leading employers.
But how is this done?
- Focusing on targeted solutions rather than on selling an image
- Acting quickly and flexibly (agility)
- Communicating activities clearly, with authenticity and empathy
- Leveraging and connecting to partners in the business, social and public sectors
Since the beginning of the crisis, we have been exposed to hundreds of initiatives by companies that significantly contributed to social strength in Israel.
This is why we decided to collect 17 case studies (others will be included in a second post), which exemplifies the many challenges faced by the business-social sector. These include work-life balance (which has been completely disrupted), volunteering activities and community involvement under the Corona restrictions, small vendors that face difficulties, and also some inspiring civil initiatives.
Work-Life Balance in Times of Corona
Challenge: When the temporary becomes permanent, the shift to working from home requires both physical and mental readjustment.
Solution: Putting emphasis on the health and comfort of employees by providing office equipment, allowing for breaks to spend time with the family, creating a content portal with valuable tips, and mapping physical/emotional needs.
Lightricks – the company wanted to preserve a healthy and productive work environment, so it converted its shuttles into (disinfected) delivery vehicles that distributed office equipment among employees throughout the country.
Omrix Pharmaceuticals – the company decided to establish a lunch break from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM to maintain a work-life balance. The initiative is part of a comprehensive wellbeing program.
SodaStream – the company adapted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid to the Corona pandemic, with a focus on generosity and caring. They mapped all physical and psychological needs of their employees and provided support that was well communicated, especially among different groups, for example, single mothers, people 60 years old or older, employees that live alone, partners of medical professionals, etc.
Social Products that Emerged during the Crisis and Online Community Involvement
Challenge: To find new channels to contribute, get involved with the community, and volunteer during the Corona crisis.
Solution: Turning the employees’ monthly dining card into foodcard4good, volunteering by phone and online, and adapting community activities to employees’ capabilities and associations’ needs in times of crisis.
Samsung NEXT TLV – it all began with a Facebook post by an employee who shared an amazing initiative. Employees decided to donate food to the elderly and populations at risk that live in isolation via their 10bis or Cibus dining cards. The model was duplicated by other companies and gained enormous momentum.
Verint, SAP – the two companies decided that they would not abandon their social partners and volunteer activities during the crisis. Both companies shifted to online activities, Verint offering its standard workshops for the House of Wheels association, and SAP giving math lessons to children of the Education in Excellence association.
Dozens of other companies continue to volunteer online, forcing some of the associations to take their own digital transformation journey.
Intel Israel – Intel took online volunteering one step further. They launched a campaign that encourages their and other employees to take part in the national effort by creating and making available a list of places that need volunteers.
Playtika – the company embarked on an impressive initiative of social involvement via their value chain. Their empty offices were filled with food packages donated from their weekly budget, which were distributed to eight different associations in Israel.
Amdocs Israel – the company upgraded its initiative to help the elderly and Holocaust survivors who live in isolation and launched “Digital Friends”, which provides digital support to the elderly. In cooperation with Amazon and Glassix, the program is based on a dedicated call center equipped with technological means that aids these populations.
Inspiring Cross-Sector Collaborations
Challenge: To satisfy the needs of a wide range of populations in need.
Solution: Creating cross-sector collaborations based on the core strengths of each.
“CONNECTED” Intel Israel | Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services | Cellcom Israel | Meshi Tech – these companies showed how, with the help of accessible and effective technology, grandparents could overcome the longing to be with their families during the holidays. 500 senior citizens received new tablets that allowed them to connect to a video conversation with a single click. Intel employees worked hours on the product (one of the company’s core goals is to harness its technology for social uses); Meshi Tech assembled the tablets; Cellcom donated an annual Internet package; and the Ministry detected the target population and recruited volunteers for distribution and support.
“Remaining strong” – undoubtedly the most important and significant initiative today. The project was established to effectively synchronize the needs that arise in the business, public, and third sectors. The result is an amazing endeavor that joins 66 companies and 130 social organizations to donate money and provide food and medical and technological equipment to those in need.
Giving from the heart – this is another initiative that is gaining momentum among thousands of Israelis. It calls for donating the Corona Grant received from the government (NIS 500 per child up to the age of 18) to associations dedicated to helping the poor, women, and children that are abused and similar organizations. The initiative was established by Lev Ohev, the Rashi Foundation, and other philanthropic organizations that asked companies and other institutions to take part in the endeavor.
Customers and Vendors = Business Partnerships in Time of Crisis
Challenge: Vendors and SMBs that suffer from economic distress and operational uncertainty.
Solution: Creating an aid fund, up-to-date policy, and customizing services in these special times.
Strauss Group – the group operates a 360-degree social strategy. In addition to supporting medical teams and populations at risk, Strauss changed its payment policy to vendors that face economic distress and established a fund that will ensure their financial strength.
Bringg – provides free and easy-to-use delivery-management solutions for SMEs.
Last but not least,
Xtra mile – decided to send gifts with a special dedication to our employees’ parents. The goal was to lift their spirits and make them happier in these trying times
(their reaction was priceless!).
And before we say goodbye until our next post, here are two civil initiatives that made a great impression on us:
Adopt a Medical Professional – entrepreneur Adi Carmon-Skoop created an impressive (and growing) group of volunteers that takes care of the partners of medical teams. The volunteers help them as much as possible on everyday chores and tasks (from preparing and buying hot meals and donating medical equipment, to taking out their pets and making sure the medical staff has a parking spot when they come back from their shift.
Door2Dor – is a voluntary social project established within just one week.
The initiative connects volunteers with people in risk groups who cannot leave the house due to the pandemic. They take medications, food, and other essential products and leave them at their doorstep without coming into contact with them. The project was established with the support of Birthright Israel Excel out of the desire of its graduates to make an impact, leave their mark, and help the community.”
To sum up,
Managerial culture and organizational strength are manifested primarily during challenging and difficult times like the Corona crisis. Businesses that map the needs of their close partners are flexible in developing purpose-driven targeted initiatives, and communicate them internally and externally in a creative and accessible manner, will succeed in strengthening and maintaining the important relationship they have with employees, potential candidates, customers, suppliers, local communities, and more.
Would you like to share with us more initiatives in the business-social field (for our next post)?
For more details on Corporate social responsibility – visit our CSR page
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