Posted on 02/23/2016
Accruent is proud to be an organization that gives back to the local communities where our employees live and work. In 2015, we as an organization donated over $70,000 to charities across the U.S., Canada and abroad, and our employees volunteered over 2,000 hours of their time with over 30 non-profit organizations.
Accruent has offered paid volunteer time off (VTO) and made donations to charities at employees’ request for some time, but it wasn’t until this year that we created an organized and concerted effort for this purpose, calling the program AccruentCARES. “One of the great things about our charitable giving and volunteerism [events] under AccruentCARES is that it is all entirely employee driven,” said Lindsey Bogard, Accruent’s Recruiting Manager. The new charitable giving and volunteerism program is steered by an employee committee responsible for planning quarterly events with a thematic focus and handling employee requests for charitable donations & matching within an annual budget.
“It’s the seven employees who sit on the Committee who are really steering our efforts,” says Vina Ortiz, Talent Strategy Manager, “This ensures that we are giving back to the causes that truly matter to our employees, and are directly impacting the communities they live in. I couldn’t be more thankful to have such an engaged and passionate team.”
The 2015 inaugural AccruentCARES Committee consists of Accruent employees Kelsy Kliesen, Laura Olien, Lauren Beck, Mike Olsen, Julie Cunniff, Kristina Veit and Scott Knife.
AccruentCARES launched with a now-annual Community Volunteer Week in June of 2015, which involved five days of concentrated volunteer opportunities throughout the United States and Canada, and supported local charities where remote employees live as well. Employees served 20 organizations over the course of the week through 13 service events organized by the AccruentCARES Committee with four satellite offices participating, and seven individual efforts from employees who chose to give their time to causes they were already involved in.
“We try to hold these events during business hours to maximize participation,” said Bogard. “We enjoy complete buy-in from leadership at all levels for employees to take a break from work at their desks to work for the community.”
Accruent employees as a whole volunteered over 1,752 service hours, with 218 employees participating in at least one organized event during the week. The largest group participation included Accruent’s June New Hire Class who joined existing employees at the Capital Area Food Bank, providing 4,350 meals to those in need. Other organizations included Keep Austin Beautiful, for whom employees repainted bridges and collected waste along area greenbelts, and the Vaughn Food Bank, where employees donated 237 food items and initiated an ongoing food collection in that satellite office.
Employees’ efforts were noticed within the communities they served as well, with one Austin resident living the North Star Greenbelt going as far as using Facebook to publicly thank the company for the employees’ efforts.
The surge of positive employee feedback on the Community Volunteer Week led the AccruentCARES Committee to begin organizing quarterly volunteer events for employees.
The Q3 AccruentCARES Volunteer Event benefitted Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County, who brought building materials to Accruent’s Braker Pointe Austin office for building the entire frame of a new home for Brittany Ausborn, a single mother of two children, for the Habitat cause. See our blog post on the event here.
Brittany worked alongside Accruent CEO Mark Friedman and other executives among the 63 employees who participated. As Mark emphasized, “We feel very fortunate to be in a position to give back to our community and give employees the opportunity to do the same. Habitat for Humanity is a great cause that’s making a real difference and we’re glad to be supporting them.”
Employees were equally as enthusiastic about the cause and the opportunity that the company provides them to do so. As one employee put it, “It continues to amaze me the way this company and the leadership team has a deep desire to positively impact and change the community. Love being a part of it!”
Others commented on the positive experience of working alongside other employees as well as the benefiting family, saying, “I'm proud of working for a company that is willing to donate time and money to help the community while allowing us to meet people from different areas of the company. “
“It was very rewarding not only to see the fruits of your labor but to meet the family that it impacts, as well.”
AccruentCARES gets involved in employee-initiated fundraising outside of the committee-organized quarterly events as well.
Employees have enjoyed participating in the Movember Foundation drive supporting prostate cancer research and general men’s health during the month of November through growing mustaches and facial hair competitions. At Accruent, a dedicated team raised donations boosted by AccruentCARES, which donating an extra $10 for every employee who sent in a photo of their mustache to the company-wide social email list. Both real and fake mustaches counted, so those who couldn’t grow facial hair could still contribute.
The same was done in the month of October for breast cancer support and research, where the company donated $10 for every employee who sent in a photo wearing pink, which 48 employees participated from around North America and the UK.
In Q4, AccruentCARES was also responsible for collecting coats for Barry’s Kids and Coats for Kids, local and national organizations providing winter coats for underprivileged youth, and the Volunteer Event for the quarter was a canned food drive competition spanning each Accruent office, where employees competed to build the most creative and largest canned food structure. Our Austin Quarry Oaks office won with a Star Wars theme as a nod to the movie opening in December, followed closely by second place Burnaby office with an impressively accurate Canadian flag made of canned food.
Accruent has also taken other measures to make charity part of company culture. One way is through using the company’s peer-to-peer recognition platform, YouEarnedIt!, which allows employees to send coworkers points to recognize one another for a job well done. Employees can then accumulate and redeem those points for customized prizes.
Employees have begun requesting custom point redemptions for charity donations to local causes or those in need, such as support for Bastrop, Texas residents affected by this past summer’s wildfires. To date, employees have utilized their recognition points for charitable causes more than any other prize redemption by far.
Accruent's community involvement and charitable giving efforts have drawn the attention of Austin Gives and CBS’ KEYE TV, who did a segment on the company and the AccruentCARES program as part of their “We Are Austin” morning show on Tuesday, December 29, 2015.
Accruent employee hearts are big, and they are happy to work for a company whose giving matches it. In the follow up survey after one of the quarterly volunteer events, one employee stated, “It has been one of the many great experiences I've had since working here. I love being able to give back to the community, but Accruent allows me to do it more often by providing various events and making it easy to [participate].”
The sentiment by another employee can be echoed by many others: “AccruentCares in general has made me more proud to be part of this company. “
Thank you to each of our employees, and to the AccruentCARES Committee, who gave their time and often their own personal dollars to support the causes that matter to you and impact the world around us.
Looking forward to 2016!