Over the past 15 months, our expression of Social Purpose has taken on new forms. We continue to see a shift to educational activities that highlight relevant social issues, build rapport among team members and can be delivered virtually. Many of our teams are designing activities to educate about causes and/or history, and to create opportunities for sharing, dialogue and engagement.
California Closets recently highlighted Asian American & Pacific Islander Month, Juneteenth and Pride Month. Although the topics differ, the company takes a “101” approach, meaning they begin by educating employees on why the topic is important, providing historical context, and creating relevant connections to today’s climate.
In May, the company focused on Asian American & Pacific Islander Month, and created a forum for team members to celebrate their rich cultural heritages. As part of this campaign, they launched a new video series called Making Space. Each week, a team member shared a glimpse of their life experience in a short testimonial video. These videos educated audiences on their backgrounds, traditions, community involvement, and/or reflections on current events.
According to Senior Director of Internal Communications & Editor in Chief, Allison King, hearing directly from team members created a powerful way to layer in a voice or personality which creates a stronger connection with colleagues.
Here are two videos from the series:
“Making Space” interview with Sanjay Neopaney
“Making Space” interview with Yura Mun
The company recognized the historical significance of “Juneteenth,” which commemorates the date on which enslaved Africans were informed that slavery had been abolished in the United States. This day has come to symbolize freedom and communities across the country celebrate it in many ways. At California Closets, leaders were encouraged to coordinate and/or promote any of the following activities, or to come up with ideas of their own:
In June, several of our Brands/companies celebrated Pride Month. We saw some brands modify their logos to match the colors of the pride flag, and many used social media to celebrate diversity and the ways we are enriched by perspectives different groups bring to our workplace.
FirstService Residential kicked off its Pride Month celebration on its social media channels by reflecting on the events of Stonewall in June 1969. This served as a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement and the drive for civil equity in the public sphere. It was the impetus for what we now recognize as Pride Month, and has evolved into a month-long series of events, parades, memorials and celebrations.
Team members participated in a variety of events locally, including the Trevor Walk in Washington, DC. The company launched PRIDE Tiny Float contest where associates were invited to design and build their own fun-sized floats using shoeboxes which were shared company-wide in a virtual mini-parade. Team members voted for their favorites via Yammer, the internal social media platform used for team and culture building.
The company’s South Region put together a video themed All You Need is Love starring its own associates from the South and other regions. Watch it here!
The FirstService Residential’s Texas Region commemorated Black History Month by producing a video called More Than A Quote: Honoring Black Pioneers and starring its own associates who took turns reading inspiring quotes.
Did you know that expressing gratitude can improve our moods, social bonds and physical health, and make us more optimistic? This is why the Social Purpose Committee at the FirstService Corporate office chose to focus on gratitude during Mental Health Awareness Month this May. As part of the company-wide Zoom call every Monday, team members took turns sharing the things for which they are most grateful. It was a wonderful, uplifting way to begin the work week, and a complement to the team’s regular “Positive Thought” series that kicks off each meeting. Nolia Feng coordinated this effort, and also planned a social hour where team members joined together to watch a video on Emotional Maturity and discuss key takeaways in a relaxed, social setting.
Awareness Months are a great way to bring team members together and educate about important social issues. Some upcoming Awareness Months include:
Looking for ideas of ways you can raise awareness about important issues?
• Lunch and learn – Virtual or in-person. Choose your topic and research videos related to it. Bring the team together to watch the video and discuss which aspects resonated with them most. Conversation starter questions include: What surprised you most about this topic? Did your view of this issue change after watching the video? How can you help educate others about this issue?
• Information sharing during team line ups and meetings – Provide factoids and create fun quizzes
• Educational emails with links to resources to learn more about societal issues and events
• Zoom trivia – Compile questions about significant historical figures or events
• Organized giving of time or monetary donations to organizations that support marginalized groups