Shaping a world where people and communities thrive

7 Mar 2022 | Articles

Shaping a world where people and communities thrive

In line with its purpose “to shape a world where people and communities thrive,” ANZ New Zealand’s corporate volunteering programme encourages staff to take at least one day a year to get out from behind their desk and volunteer in their local community. Although recently COVID has impacted the total time volunteered, ANZ teams have still found ways to be involved between lockdowns and alert level restrictions, including hundreds of hours in collaboration with Volunteering Auckland.

We spoke with Imogen Swain, ANZ’s New Zealand Government Relations & Corporate Responsibility Manager, to learn more. Her enthusiasm exuded from her voice as she described collaborating with ANZ employees to enable them to volunteer in their community. “I’m very grateful to have had the opportunities that put me here, in a role where I can empower people to give back”.

ANZ staff use this paid time to engage in a broad range of activities, from planting trees along New Zealand’s waterways with Sustainable Coastlines, to packing food parcels, to offering skills-based support in areas such as IT, communications and design.

Rather than setting up individual opportunities or events for each team, ANZ makes it easy for staff to find and organise their own, through a Corporate Volunteering toolkit which includes ideas, suggestions on how to arrange a volunteering activity, policy information, and the very important link to Volunteering Auckland, along with posting specific date requests from various organisations on its intranet.

Some staff like to volunteer individually, either for a local cause they are already passionate about, or by looking on the Volunteering Auckland page and picking something that suits and inspires them.

Other times, ANZ representatives will work with Volunteering Auckland to organise a group activity, knowing that time out of office together is a great way for teams to bond and see a different side of their colleagues.

And that’s the best part of the ANZ story. The company doesn’t need to push volunteering opportunities, Imogen explains: “because ANZ staff across all business units value volunteering and being part of a company that encourages getting out and assisting local communities.”

Imogen also imparts that the “ANZ executives need no encouraging. They are all believers in helping where it counts and actively participate in the programme.” This adds another positive aspect to the ANZ culture. “People love having face-time with senior executives, whether it’s having a chat with the CEO while planting trees or a laugh with the managing director of their division while painting furniture together.”

Staff share photos of their volunteering on the company intranet and share personal impacts in conversations. From the casual “I didn’t even know there was such a need in this area”, to the more specific “I noticed they were putting toiletries in with the food parcels. I had never thought about how hard it would be to not have personal hygiene products,” it is clear that personal awareness of community needs grow via these activities.

In addition to its corporate volunteering, ANZ has a financial capability programme, MoneyMinded, and a payroll giving scheme, the ANZ New Zealand Staff Foundation, which matches employee donations at a rate of $2 for every $1 donated by a staff member.

Imogen, who looks after all three of these initiatives in her role, finds that these programmes naturally complement each other. She has the chance to speak with a variety of charities when they apply for funding, which feeds into knowing more about their needs. In turn, this can sometimes link to ANZ’s ability to provide financial literacy offerings and volunteers.

Ultimately, these programmes, which are living embodiments of ANZ’s mission statement, are having a multi-faceted, multi-layered, and far-reaching impact on Aucklanders and Kiwis around the motu.

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Circus and smiles

I find it very rewarding to assist the disabled to learn circus, their joyful smile always make my day.