Today, we’re presenting you with our first ever Changemaker Chats — a series that will feature businesses doing good and advocating for social impact in our communities. This series will not only highlight the amazing work these companies do, but will hopefully also inspire others to take action and realize that creating programs around giving back is not so hard after all.
For our first business highlight, we sat down with Vidyard, a software developer based out of Kitchener, Ontario that specializes in a video creation platform designed to make virtual selling easy. Community has always been a big part of Vidyard and the company prides itself on its volunteer-first mentality. Take a look below, to find out how Vidyard is helping others with their extremely successful Employee Volunteer Program!
Vidyard’s Employee Volunteer Program
Vidyard’s Employee Volunteer Program has two main focuses; equity within STEM which involves mentorship opportunities, outreach, partnership and school talks; and essential support and wellbeing which involves supporting shelter and food security. The company’s program began when employees started noticing little things they could do to support their community such as donating a portion of their catered lunches.
Each of Vidyard’s 250 employees are given two 8-hour days of paid volunteer time with the program, which doesn’t include the company’s Give Back Days (company-wide events). Vidyard has a close network of charities it consistently works with and actively creates volunteer opportunities and events for those organizations with the idea that employees will be able to go to these organizations on their own and pick up where they left off with work volunteering.
Laura Galbraith, the Director of Community Impact at Vidyard, helps drive all of the company’s give-back campaigns and programming. She explained that employees are drawn to Vidyard because they are conscious to incorporate giving back into everything they do; for example, adding a charitable element to a kick-off event.
“We know that volunteering helps people feel connected and gives them a sense of belonging to a community.”
Laura also says that “Volunteering helps them put down routes and keeps them invested and driven to do more good. We’ve even seen employees create their own passion projects with the program because they know they’re supported by the company. Our program is growing every year because employees are so engaged.”
Oh hey COVID, time to pivot!
When COVID hit, Laura thought there would be no engagement for the year and, surprisingly, got the exact opposite result.
“Since we switched to skill-based volunteering, we’ve actually been getting more involvement.”
The switch to virtual, skill-based volunteer opportunities helped engage a group of employees who were not involved before. Some of the opportunities included providing ‘Video 101’ workshops and helping charities who needed to go virtual with tech support. In 2020, Vidyard was able to donate over 2500 hours of volunteer time.
“Being able to volunteer has given me the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, and feel valuable in a way that I did not expect,” says Laurie, a Vidyard employee and volunteer with Anishnabeg Outreach. “The goal was to create a new website for a local non-profit. We worked together through the entire process, updating the content, troubleshooting issues and learning new tools so that they would be able to manage the site on their own. Watching them become more confident in their knowledge was amazing! I’m so happy that Vidyard has given me this opportunity to both help others and grow personally.”
How can my company start an Employee Volunteer Program (EVP)?
We know what you’re thinking; this is fantastic! How can we get started setting up our own program? Our advice is to start simple, then build on your program.
One of the first things you’ll need is some hard data about where your company is at with their social giving and where your employees stand on how they want to give back. With our Employee Volunteer Program Toolkit, we can help build you a personalized report that will guide your next steps in creating your own EVP program. Click here to find out more about how we can help you get started.