March 24, 2020

Corporate Social Responsibility: Supporting communities in times of crisis and uncertainty

As we deal with unexpected circumstances resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, companies can’t overlook corporate social responsibility. It’s more important than ever to act with compassion and prioritize the health of our communities. Read on for more from Shawna Weisberg, Executive Director of Ceridian Cares, on how companies can step up to respond.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a wide-ranging concept that can take many forms. It often includes employee volunteer programs, corporate and employee philanthropy, pro-bono work, product donations, socially and environmentally conscious business practices and investments, and many more creative ways by which businesses of all sizes can contribute positively to our world.

What it comes down to, though, is demonstrating a fundamental moral responsibility to be good to the people and world around us.

During this unprecedented time, in the era of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to act with kindness and concern for the people in our communities and globally.

How a company chooses to behave during a time of real challenge can reveal its deeper values and true corporate culture. It can also provide a sense of security and a path forward for employees during a time when we all feel a loss of control, which can then have a ripple effect on how those individuals choose to behave toward others.

Businesses have both an ability and a responsibility to positively impact their employees, customers and communities, and times of uncertainty are critical periods to do so. A global health crisis is an all-hands-on-deck effort unlike any time we’ve experienced in recent history. 

For employers, the idea of making health a priority can come to life in many ways through CSR activities, and that can start with a company’s own policies, programs, and events. For example, in the context of this pandemic, simply supporting employees to work from home wherever possible is a pro-social action, helping to reduce community transmission and lessen the burden on our health care systems. This is something Ceridian did early on to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The same can be said for hosting conferences and summits online, to help protect customers, investors and other attendees, while still bringing them together in innovative ways. 

Other corporate actions that can have a positive social impact right now include:

  • Considering new and innovative uses for products and services which may be helpful to our communities at this time
  • Sharing best practices, plans, and frameworks as examples of how to respond to the situation
  • Facilitating creative idea exchanges
  • Providing employee relief, including supporting sick leave, and strongly promoting relevant hygienic and social behaviors such as handwashing and social distancing

How we’re contributing to supporting our communities

In addition to focusing on the health and safety of our employees, customers, and suppliers during this time, Ceridian is also dedicated to supporting our communities by giving where we live. One of the ways we do this is through our employee-driven Ceridian Cares Foundation.

Our foundation provides financial assistance to individuals and families who may otherwise fall through the cracks, helping to fill the gaps for basic needs and quality of life. We often receive requests for help with paying for food, housing, clothing, basic household supplies, medical and mobility devices, and other essential care, for families who are struggling to meet those basic needs.

While not an emergency response service, our foundation will have a role to play in supporting our communities during the economic fallout of this pandemic. We are taking steps to prepare our foundation for the expected influx of applications due to the financial impact of COVID-19, and we hope that our grants will provide relief for people as they try to bridge their financial gaps in the months ahead.

We are also reaching out to food pantries and other non-profits to let them know we can be one more resource in their toolkit for the people who come through their doors. By raising awareness of our grants among their patrons, these organizations can help strengthen the safety net for our communities.

The Ceridian Cares Foundation has over 200 employee volunteers in North America and is funded through employee and corporate donations.

If you know someone who might need our help, you can direct them to our online application in the U.S. and Canada.

Shawna Weisberg

As the Executive Director of Ceridian Cares, Shawna is focused on embedding a culture of caring into all that we do at Ceridian. Prior to joining Ceridian, Shawna’s career spanned a range of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, including several years leading a national employee giving campaign for one of Canada’s largest banks, where she raised over $11 million annually for charities across Canada. She is also an accomplished artist and illustrator, whose artwork has appeared in magazines, packaging, retail stores, hospitals, and personal commissions.

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