Corporate Responsibility Program
Bayer has a long history of corporate responsibility in Canada. The company's list of good works includes charitable donations, product donations to needy organizations, and science education at local schools. But Bayer goes further, with a holistic, community-level approach that included many opportunities for employee involvement: support for individual volunteering at local schools; a matching program for each employee's charitable contributions; and a program allowing workers to take time off to volunteer for individual charitable causes.
Yet despite these efforts, most employees were unaware of, and therefore not engaging in the opportunities. Bayer wanted to engage its staff, but merely publicizing programs under the banner of “corporate responsibility” wouldn't be enough. So many other companies had adopted the term “corporate responsibility” that it had become just another overused business catch-phrase. Our mission: Make Bayer's own efforts meaningful to employees and encourage involvement.
Bayer initially came to Company B asking for a simple annual report – essentially a list of the organization's charitable initiatives. But it was clear Bayer had to do more in order to make its programs relevant. We suggested a comprehensive grass roots approach.
First, we developed a way to celebrate the contributions of employees who were already involved, in a series of regular newsletters we called “Good Neighbours.” Then, once employees' interest had been piqued, we showed them how to take the next step by creating a corporate responsibility tool kit. The kit included everything Bayer employees needed to know to get involved in the company's charitable and volunteer programs. And it made doing so easy.