When I graduated from Bachelor’s degree, at University of Sherbrooke (Canada), one man brief had to do some form of “discourse”… I honestly expected it to be boring and wished that it would be a short as possible, so that we could move on with the actual reception.
Quite the opposite, the speech turned out to be one of the greatest speeches I have heard in my life – full stop. While I do not recall the actual words, the key message still resounds very strongly with me: give back!
The person who delivered the speech was probably the age I am today – and came across as an experienced professional, halfway in his career, solid, and probably privileged.
This “privileged” notion was central to his speech… Basically, he very quickly said : congrats… you graduated – now what ?!? Without diminishing the accomplishment – he wanted to open up on the following question: “you are likely to be privileged – now and for the foreseeable future – will you just pile up or will you give back ?”
Actually, what I appreciated the most in the speech was that, no matter how the diploma was earned, no matter what your background was, no matter your birthrights, this graduation meant entering a professional life with high chances of employment for the rest of your life.. it meant realizing that not everyone will have access to this. Hence the notion of giving back.. of sharing. I totally abide by this.
As soon as I could, as a manager, I have instated a volunteering program where each consultant can give up to five days of his time, to whatever cause / charity / association that is close to their heart. Other organizations also provide such programs, we are not unique, but we plan to go beyond and give back, our way.
Now, the program was activated nearly four years, it has not been consistently used. Explanations include matters of personal sensibility - no one is obliged to use the time – but also, it was a challenge to actually set up! You would think that charity work should be easy to organize, but it is not. Then we discover Alaya (HopeItUp)
Alaya is a marketplace, which links charities of various nature, in Switzerland, with companies who want to introduce and facilitate voluntary time giving. Alaya lets a company set up a company wide account, which in turn empowers employees with access to the platform. Employees willing to do some volunteer work, can then browse through all of the available volunteering opportunities, and directly choose which one matches their intent. Easy…
In parallel, and also through Alaya and with the assistance of Hospice Général (Geneva), we participated in the distribution of Christmas presents to children of newly arrived families.
A great evening, touching and heart warming, seeing the smiles on the children’s faces. More than half of Evolusys participated.
This summer, we are invited to teach IT basics (search, email, word processing, spreadsheets) to newly arrived adults, to ease their integration process and increase their chance of landing a job. This will also be on a volunteer basis, under our Evolusys volunteering program.
We also plan to do a team building activity targeted at a single charitable event, later in the year. We will continue to try and be a successful company, but also, a “giving back” company, existing to make a difference for customers on a professional level – of course – but also for other humans on a personal level.