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Staff engagement in community programs

Career Choice Day

Comments from students who participated in a Career Choice Day at our Australian Technology Park office: 'I was so surprised by how much I learnt — normally stuff with technology doesn't interest me but I was really interested!'
'I learnt so much — I didn't know Xerox made the first printer'
'Today was a fun and informative day which helped me think about my future and how I can achieve my goal'
'I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience and I am now considering a future career in business'

ABCN wins 2010 Global Best Awards for Business Education Partnerships

The Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) has won two major international awards at the 10th International Education Business Partnership Conference, held in Toronto in April 2010.

ABCN was created in Australia in 2005 by the CEOs of major Australian and global companies and now represents 28 major national and global companies and over 400,000 corporate employees. These organisations work together, collaboratively, funding and participating in business and education programs in schools across Australia.

The member companies of the ABCN believe that by aggregating their business resources, especially the personal involvement of their people, they will have greater and more sustainable community impact in the education area.

ABCN's ten mentoring and coaching programs are created in response to school and student needs with a strong focus on refugee, recent migrants, and indigenous and lower socioeconomic student support. Since 2005 over 20,000 students have participated in ABCN school and business partnership programs.

The ABCN has worked with thousands of corporate mentors in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and some regional areas and with nearly 200 disadvantaged schools.

Member companies are American Express, Bain and Company, Blackmores, Citi Australia, CBA, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Fuji Xerox Australia, Goldman Sachs, Hall & Wilcox, iiNet, IAG, Investec, JPMorgan, KPMG, Microsoft, Mallesons, Minter Ellison, MLC, Navitas, ninemsn, Optus, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Qantas, Stockland, STW communications, UBS and Wesfarmers.

Fuji Xerox Australia is committed to making a positive social contribution. While our operations do not have an easily identified impact on local communities, we are aware of our potential social impacts on customers, employees and the broader community.

The goal of our community programs is to enable staff participation and create positive outcomes for the communities in which we operate by helping the disadvantaged. We believe that by supporting education, we will address social sustainability issues in a more systemic and impactful way and help build local communities with adept people that can contribute to the growth of our business and society as a whole.

Encouraging employees to volunteer within company time and providing matched donations also helps to engage and retain staff: a key business objective. These programs also give staff a rewarding team-building experience and expose them to local sustainability issues in a positive way. There are benefits for the community, for the business and for our employees.

Our key current initiatives include our long-standing relationship with United Way, our recent engagement with the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) and the Fuji Xerox Community Service Awards. There is also a broad range of state-based activities that originate at a grass-roots level.

United Way

Fuji Xerox Australia's relationship with United Way goes back more than 20 years. United Way manages our WorkPlace Giving scheme and works with us to organise volunteering opportunities for staff. This was recently recognised through the receipt of the 'Outstanding and Sustained Corporate Leadership Award' at United Way's twenty-fifth celebration.

In 09/10 our central community engagement committee worked with our local network of community champions to reinvigorate our donation and volunteering programs. Our participation in the United Way 'Week of Caring' and 'Christmas Giving Appeal' were both successful. We are also pleased that staff access to volunteering opportunities and the number of volunteering hours has increased.

However we have had less success achieving our goal to increase staff participation in WorkPlace Giving. Significant improvements have been made in communication, including the launch of a focused 'Community Engagement Week' at head office designed to boost staff awareness.

However the impact of our efforts has been to balance those leaving the program as they leave the company with new donors joining the program. We have found that many of our people already donate to their chosen charities outside the structure of our programs and that some fail to connect with the United Way brand and do not grasp the impact of WorkPlace Giving on local communities in need.

As a result we have decided to adapt our strategy and build stronger connections between volunteering opportunities and donations so that our employees will have a better view of the impact our community initiatives have.

We will pursue a small number of meaningful relationships with education charities under the auspices of United Way and structure a series of staff volunteering events with each charity whilst raising funds for specific needs they may have.

We will also work on a pilot of United Way's new 'Community Impact Model', which is intended to develop a more participatory partnership and evidence-based approach to resolving social issues. Finally we have decided to review our WorkPlace Giving promotions to new employees. In 10/11 we will donate $100 to charity for every new permanent part-time or full-time employee who chooses to activate that donation.

Australian Business and Community Network

In 06/07 Fuji Xerox Australia entered into a partnership with ABCN. This initiative brings together major companies to support schools operating in under-privileged areas.

Employee enthusiasm for this engaging and impactful initiative has continued to build. Feedback from our people and the students whom they mentor has always indicated strong outcomes from our participation.

As a result, and with increased resources available to encourage and manage our participation, we have expanded our participation in every state and worked with ABCN to establish a presence in South Australia for the first time.

In 09/10 our goal is to continue to expand ABCN activity in every state of operation. In response to requests from our employees, we have been working with ABCN and the Department of Education in South Australia to find suitable schools for a Spark reading mentoring program in 11/12. This will mean that Fuji Xerox Australia will have the second largest coverage of all ABCN member companies nationally.

Community Service Awards

We encourage the engagement of our staff with the community in which they live and work. Underpinning this commitment is our Community Service Awards program, which provides a series of grants to community organisations, with which our staff volunteer in their own time. The program commenced in 2003 with applications from staff being assessed by our Community Committee, a cross-functional team within Fuji Xerox Australia. In the year under review, we donated $50,000 to 19 charities supported by our employees, with individual grants ranging from $1,000 to $4,000.

The amount each community organisation received was based on three criteria: how long the employee has been involved with the entity concerned, how much time is spent volunteering with the organisation and the overall community benefit impact of the organisation. In 09/10 we expanded the scope of these financial awards to include access to up to five days of paid volunteer leave for each employee who wins a community service award. Our records show that only three days were taken in total, although we believe this under-reports what employees have informally agreed with their managers.

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