How Achmea addresses employees’ need to contribute during Covid-19
We’re super proud of the impact that Achmea has been making via our technology. Especially recently. Over the past months the number of people feeling the urge to start societal and collective initiatives has skyrocketed. People clearly want to make a meaningful contribution.
The people at Dutch insurance giant Achmea are a great example of this urge. They have translated it to swift and deliberate action, running tangible impact projects with inspiring outcomes during the crisis. Now, new opportunities are opening up to increase Achmea’s positive societal impact well beyond the crisis.
We spoke about the recent developments with Astrid Coelman, program manager at the Achmea Foundation, who has been leading the ‘Achmea Voor Elkaar’ platform that centralises Achmea’s do good initiatives.
Creating space for employees to act
In our conversation, Astrid stressed the importance of effective leadership in a company wide response. By adopting a very human, conversational tone of voice, Achmea leadership created the necessary space for Achmea people to create societal impact.
Astrid: “When the virus hit the Netherlands, and the intelligent lockdown was announced, help arrived from within all the ranks of our organisation. To make a long story short, I got in touch with an internal task force called ‘Maatschappelijke Impact’ (which translates to ‘societal impact’) within a couple of days. The task force was set up to coordinate Achmea’s response to the crisis, and consisted of people in all ranks of the organisation, including the board.”
The taskforce quickly stepped up to inspire action. For example, they managed to donate 1000 laptops to kids that needed them to get access to home schooling. They also quickly made sure that their people could spend twice as much time on volunteering activities as usual, and allowed colleagues with healthcare experience to offer assistance during work hours.
Astrid:“Besides these efforts they took a very human and personal approach in their communication. They updated us via personal vlogs and extensive messaging on our intranet. And of course, they made sure that people knew where to find the Coronahelp page on our ‘Achmea Voor Elkaar’ platform. It made me so proud to see that at Achmea we’re living up to our core value of solidarity! Since then I’ve experienced continuously how much energy people are willing to put into helping others, and helping society get through these difficult times when they get the chance.”
Astrid: I experienced firsthand how eager our people actually are to offer help. As soon as we got the ‘go’ sign from the board to invest time in volunteering activities, the traffic to the platform raised quickly. Also, in a simple call that we quickly set up, more than 50 colleagues joined to discuss ideas.”
Smart technology facilitates multiplying impact
The ‘Achmea Voor Elkaar’ platform has been the central space for volunteering initiatives at Achmea.
Also starting in April, Achmea has enabled the crowdfunding feature on their platform. And it was really cool to see how the first crowdfunding initiative came about. It started with a group of colleagues that got in touch with an NGO. This particular NGO distributes school packages to kids, just the necessary things for those who don’t have the financial means to provide for it. Then, right when Achmea colleagues started their crowdfunding initiative on the Achmea Voor Elkaar platform, another colleague came up with the idea to donate now unused travel allowances to support this initiative. Hundreds of colleagues contributed, resulting in almost €20.000 euros donated, and over 1.500 school packages delivered!
Astrid also noticed how one inspiring deed leads to another. More and more people find their way to the platform to collaborate. There are colleagues who are volunteering for the red cross, new programs have been set up for the food bank, webinars to support entrepreneurs are being organised, people are helping out in a care hotel or provide support by calling with people who are in need of a conversation through an initiative called ‘luisterlijn’. Also, Achmea has partnered up with several organisations to donate 10.000 hygiene packages to the salvation army.
Astrid: “I’m really excited about the number of employees that want to do something to help others! We have been collaborating with GoodUp for some time, and found that with them we had the perfect tool available to facilitate colleagues and coordinate our response company wide.
It’s amazing to see how many people and institutions we’ve helped in so little time. There’s been hundreds of colleagues collaborating all the available impact projects. And the best thing, is to see how this affects our colleagues. People feel supported by the organisation to do good, and everything is measurable real time on the platform.”
Momentum to increase impact
Seeing the energy and support that recent events sparked, Achmea is now looking to maintain this energy and increase its societal impact after the crisis. It aims to expand on its volunteering efforts,leveraging the platform to support their goals on the topic of diversity and inclusion.
Astrid: “Partly because of the momentum generated during these past months, I’m now involved in discussions with several departments about including this topic on the platform. Doing this would mean we open up our entire network of skills, expertise and resources to, for example, refugees. It is such a thrill to witness the direct impact that we can have on a person’s life with our organisation. I’m truly proud of the work that my colleagues are doing, and I’m glad to be able to facilitate and boost the impact that we have as an organisation.”