The Viva Energy Case study

Recently I was privileged to be in the audience at an  HR Leaders Forum entitled “Building Employee Engagement and Company Reputation through Corporate Social Responsibility “, and hear from Jodie Haydon, General Manager Human Resources, Viva Energy Australia.

Viva Energy was created in 2014 following the purchase of Shell Australia’s down-stream business.

After a “fantastic” first year performance by the new business, Viva Energy conducted its inaugural employee engagement survey through its external provider.

Viva Energy was shocked to discover they were in the bottom quartile in their industry. Instead of panicking, Jodie explained they decided to see this as a “catalyst that we needed to put the focus back onto our people”.

Initially Viva concentrated on making a public commitment to their team that they were determined to become a workplace where people were proud to work.

The implementation strategy included these three elements: –

  • Crafting a purpose: “Helping people reach their destination” (Customers, employees -both personally and professionally- and ultimately also encompassing the community);
  • Sharing stories that demonstrate Viva Energy values in action, through channels such as emails from the CEO and Executive Webcasts, as well as posting photos on Yammer; AND
  • Leadership development and coaching

After these steps were bedded down, attention was turned to crafting a CSR strategy. Underpinning the strategy was a determination to show customers, employees and stakeholders that Viva Energy wanted to drive genuine positive social change and was prepared to commit both time and money to the cause.

The CSR strategy eventually became the Viva Energy Community Program.

One of the aspects I loved most about the Community Program was the involvement of the whole team, right from the start.

Employees were asked what they cared about, what charities and what issues were important to them.

The top three results were: –

Mental health, reducing substance abuse, and improving outcomes for indigenous people.

Next step in the planning was to devise simple and inspiring ways that employees could get involved, whilst recognising that some people like to donate $ whilst others prefer to donate time.

And what did they devise I hear you ask? Read my summary below, or check out their video here:

Highlights of The Viva Energy Community Program

  1. Double my donation

Employees can donate to one of the 20 charities Viva has nominated, and Viva will match every dollar donated up to a $10k maximum.

  1. Team fundraising

Four or more people form teams and raise $ for those same charities by participating in activities like bike rides and marathons. Not only are participants raising funds, but there are additional bonuses in terms of social investment, team building and a focus on health and fitness.
In 2017, these two activities combined raised $330,778.

  1. Good deeds week

This initiative is an annual, national project where employees can donate for up to a week to “do some good”. The donations are not limited to the 20 listed charities, and previous years have seen donations ranging from walking dogs, providing clothes to domestic violence victims, and talking to young people about job interviews.

Viva Energy Good Deeds Day 2018

In 2018, 750 Viva Energy employees across Australia donated over 650 hours and participated in 1,100 good deeds.

  1. Local Community Partnerships

    For example: –

  • Headspace. This $600k partnership that started in 2016 was attractive to Viva because it is a national charity, but individual employees can get involved at local branches. And the partnership provided clear knowledge of what Viva’s $ were going to do.
  • Cathy Freeman foundation – a four-year partnership aimed which aims to:-

“Empower (ing) young Indigenous Australians from four remote communities in QLD and NT to stay engaged in their schooling through culturally appropriate education”. [Viva Energy website]

  • Local grants – where Not for Profits in ‘heartland communities’ are invited to apply for grants totally up to $50k.

The importance of Community Ambassadors

Jodi noted that one crucial element of ensuring the CSR has been successfully implemented, is that the Viva Energy Executive “buy into the fact that we want an organisation that is great, and people want to be here, and that we can make great changes”.

Jodi also noted that equally vital to the success of the CSR program has been Community Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are 40 employees from across the business who have a passion for community, who have really contributed to good deeds week and team fundraising efforts, and who serve as role models for all employees.

Viva Energy’s Community Engagement Manager, Jo Powell, explains further that the importance of the Community Ambassador role is “reflected by the fact Community Ambassadors can incorporate the role into their KPI’s. There is also reward and recognition opportunities for around 5 to 8 Community Ambassadors to visit remote indigenous communities each year.

Jo also explains:-

“In addition to Community Ambassadors, the program is governed by a number of advisory groups, ensuring the program sits within the business. The business recognises the importance of this by appointing senior people into the roles.”

Let’s chat

If you would like to talk to about how Workology Co can help drive your employee engagement through strategies like CSR initiatives, then click on this link to book in your free 30 minute discovery session.

*Millenials are generally classified as those born between 1981 – 1996, and are sometimes referred to as Gen Y.