While many companies make contributions to charity partners, sometimes the greatest impact can come from those that get more involved. The Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics does this with an annual day of volunteering.
“Empowering economic and human possibility underscores Aon’s long-standing commitment to global citizenship. We believe the core of any corporation’s citizenship is how its business contributes to society and to the communities where its employees live and work.”
This is the philosophy of Greg Case, president and CEO of Aon. The Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) team in Dublin shares these values together with 50,000 colleagues across the globe.
Each year, the firm dedicates a day to focus on the wellbeing and development of colleagues, another to support local communities, and a third to dive deep into the value of partnership with clients.
These days are at the heart of Aon’s mission to empower economic and human possibility. Oisín O’Gogain, HR director, said: “From an internal perspective, these days provide employees with an excellent opportunity for situational learning and to engage in leadership development formally through workshops, as well as in more relaxed life situations.”
Last month, Aon employees around the world volunteered their time on the firm’s annual Empower Results Day for Communities (7 June). The activities that took place on the day were unique to each Aon location but they were all centred around the theme of “connecting colleagues, communities and clients to find what’s possible”.
The Dublin 1 team worked closely with a number of organisations located within minutes of their office. Painting and gardening in the Lourdes Day Care Centre for the Elderly, making sandwiches and assembling hygiene packs for Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), and inviting fifth-class students from Rutland National School to the office for a tour were just some of the highlights of the day. The tasks were willingly undertaken by 115 colleagues with a strong sense of community spirit.
The benefits of this annual day are not just limited to the output into the community. “It is very important to us to make a positive impact on the local communities, and for our colleagues to get the opportunity to contribute to the excellent work being done by organisations such as The Lourdes Day Centre, and the ICHH,” O’Gogain explained. “Many of our colleagues spend much time away from the office in client meetings, so it’s great for them to mix and work together on something like this.”
Fergal Collins, CEO of ACIA, believes that this day strongly aligns with the values and capabilities of ACIA employees. “I’m very proud of the people that make up our firm. I saw the collective impact we achieved when we worked together. I also saw how we were able to use our strengths and apply what we do well as a firm to create a real social impact.”
— ICHHDUBLIN (@ICHHDUBLIN) June 7, 2017
— ICHHDUBLIN (@ICHHDUBLIN) June 7, 2017
Days like these create a great atmosphere in the ACIA as people step away from the computer screen and work together to give back to the local community.
Collins spoke about the sentiments expressed around the office in the weeks following the volunteer day. “‘Perspective’ is a word I’ve heard being used a lot. Sometimes it’s easy to be blinkered to the world beyond the daily grind. Volunteering exposes you to a different side of the locality you work in and gives a window into the lives of other people; people who are often less fortunate than ourselves”.
— Aon – ACIA (@ACIA_ie) June 7, 2017
“It also gives our employees a great sense of accomplishment. In a large organisation, sometimes the projects we work on can feel long and inconclusive. It’s often tricky to see the impact of one’s daily efforts or even see a large project through from start to finish. Volunteering allows for faster impact; our efforts allow us to help somebody meaningfully in the space of a day.”
“On a more personal level, I have a greater appreciation of the sacrifices people make in volunteering their time and resources. In the busy world we now live in, time is precious and being generous with the free time that you have to help others unconditionally is a trait that we value in the ACIA.”
Empower Results Day for Communities 2017 was a profound success in the ACIA, joined by other Aon business units in the Metropolitan Building. More than 300 hours were spent with volunteer activities, and the day also saw the next phase of Aon’s ‘Go Green’ campaign, cutting down on the use of plastic and paper cups around the office.