What We’ve Learned About Employee Giving Programs in a Hybrid World

By Eimear Marrinan, Director of Culture at HubSpot

It’s no secret that a positive employee experience is strongly connected to a company that walks the walk on corporate social responsibility. In fact, 76 percent of candidates consider a company’s social commitments before deciding where to work. Historically, social impact programs are often viewed as volunteering in-person. With social distancing and lockdowns, many employee volunteering opportunities had to be paused. Yet, instead of giving up on giving back, people looked for ways to connect and be a part of something bigger. Benevity, the leading provider of global corporate purpose software, found that 51 percent more people donated through corporate purpose programs in 2020, showing that employee giving hasn’t slowed down, it’s just taken a slightly different form in a hybrid world.

At HubSpot, we believe growing better also means growing the impact we have on the communities we work and live in. HubSpot Helps is our charity partner program, which supports nine nonprofits around the world focused on two core areas: education and entrepreneurship. Throughout the year, we provide a range of opportunities for employees to get involved, including volunteerism, financial and in-kind donations and events.

As we shifted to be a hybrid company, we had to reconsider how our employees would be able to give back regardless of where they’re located or what work preference they chose. Here are three ways we’ve engaged employees in social impact efforts in a hybrid world.

In the wake of the global pandemic, we worked closely with our charity partners to identify ways we could continue to support them through virtual volunteering and giving back, knowing how many people were in need.

As a result, in December we held The Great HubSpot Gratitude Relay — a virtual version of our annual global fundraising event — with the goal to raise $20,000 in 24 hours. If employees reached that goal, HubSpot would match the amount and distribute it equally among our charity partners. During the event, HubSpotters engaged in a dedicated Slack channel by sharing what they are grateful for and “passing the baton” to a fellow colleague by tagging them. From there, HubSpotters pledged to donate to one of our global charity partners. Donations were reflected on a rolling tally, drumming up some fun and healthy competition across regions.

By tapping into an existing internal communications channel, HubSpotters raised over $100,000 with matched funding and spread kindness throughout the world. The event was such a success that we are considering replicating it again this year. And what I loved most about this, is it was not only inclusive of where people worked, but it was inclusive of all locations and truly global in nature.

The HubSpot LGBTQ+ Alliance celebrates Pride month with a variety of global initiatives. This year, our Pride celebrations were designed to celebrate our entire community, featuring remarkable activists, queer rights icons, founders, creatives, and trailblazing fitness community leaders.

With many regions unable to walk in pride parades, we decided to continue the celebration virtually. The Growing with Pride Challenge was month-long and encouraged HubSpotters around the world to engage in daily challenges for their mental well-being, physical health, and to support our Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DI&B) efforts. For every challenge completed, HubSpot donated $1 to our regional LGBTQ+ nonprofit partners. Challenges included sharing what Pride means to you, joining a discussion with the Black@INBOUND community, completing a “mini” workout and sharing it on TikTok, watching a video about an AIDS activist, and practicing mindfulness with the Modern Health app, a benefit available to all HubSpotters.

Almost a fourth of HubSpot employees took part in the challenges to grow our minds, bodies, and spirits and raised over $20,000 for LGBTQ+ nonprofits across the globe.

As one of the most inspiring environmentalists, Greta Thunberg, says, “no one is too small to make a difference.” That was certainly the theme of our approach to Earth Day this year. During the third week of April, HubSpotters were challenged to take small steps to reduce their environmental impact at home in our Earth Week Challenge. For every completed action, HubSpot donated $5 to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

HubSpotters around the world completed actions such as shaving one minute off their shower time, purchasing a locally sourced plant-based meal, unplugging devices not in use and reducing waste impact by reusing an item that would normally be thrown out. In just five days, employees saved 3,800 liters of water, reused 116 items and raised over $6,000 for the WWF.

Now more than ever people are looking to give back to the communities they live in and the causes they believe in. And, they want to work for a company who not only cares, but makes giving back a core part of their culture. We’re proud to be recognized as a Company That Cares by PEOPLE and Great Place to Work. We also know that giving back means different things to different people, and we’re just getting started. That’s why we’ll continue to identify unique and creative ways employees can give back to communities, organizations, and causes that make a difference and a true impact on the world around them.

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