CSAA Insurance Group has been applauded for their remarkably successful volunteer program which has engaged the majority of their employees. In this interview, Roger Hancock, Community Affairs Manager for CSAA Insurance Group and recent REV Sustainability Circle participant, shares details about the program, keys to successful engagement, and how volunteerism aligns with sustainability at CSAA Insurance Group.
Q — What is your role at CSAA Insurance Group and how are you involved with the volunteer program?
Roger Hancock — As the Volunteer Manager for CSAA Insurance Group, I am responsible for helping nearly 4,000 employees connect to meaningful volunteer opportunities in 23 states and the District of Columbia. This is a role I’ve held since 2003 – time flies when you’re having fun! One of my most memorable moments was last year’s achievement of a 98 percent employee participation rate in volunteerism, which is the highest ever achieved for any company with more than 3,000 employees.
Q – Why is volunteerism important to CSAA Insurance Group? How does it support the company’s mission or vision?
RH — CSAA Insurance Group provides automobile, homeowners and other personal lines of insurance to AAA members in 23 states and the District of Columbia. AAA has always been known for its commitment to helping people in need. Volunteerism is just another way of doing that. One of our values is that we are caring – for AAA members, for each other and for the communities we serve.
Q- What are some of the ways that CSAA Insurance Group built a culture that supports such spectacular engagement in volunteerism?
RH — CSAA Insurance Group is committed to corporate volunteer engagement. Our program is robust: we have clear objectives; strong program management; leadership buy-in and the enthusiastic engagement of our employees. Each year, our employees receive 24 hours of paid time off to volunteer, and the company promotes projects with numerous nonprofits including the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, Stop Hunger Now, and The Crayon Initiative. Employees may also volunteer during multi-day outings to the Grand Canyon, Zion and Yosemite National Parks or on their own time.
Q – Does this level of employee engagement benefit other aspects of company and its business? In what ways?
RH — Volunteer service engages employees in a common purpose, and bonds an organization in ways that few other activities can. When colleagues collaborate on behalf of the community, they become powerful agents of positive change. We have also found that it helps reduce hierarchy when employees are volunteering side-by-side. This can help motivate collaboration, deepen community relationships, build employee relationships, enhance company morale and attract new talent. There is also research that ties volunteerism and community involvement with better customer support.
Q – On an individual level, what are some of the benefits of volunteerism for CSAA Insurance Group employees?
RH — By volunteering, employees learn new skills, build leadership capabilities, and expand their personal and professional networks. Volunteering also boosts morale and engagement, and can provide a sense of meaning and purpose. It also feels good to give back and can be a lot of fun!
Q – CSAA Insurance Group recently participated in a REV Sustainability Circle. Are there ways that CSAA Insurance Group is planning to harness volunteerism toward fostering its sustainability program?
RH — In many cases, volunteer service can be closely aligned to sustainability. Through our work with national parks, we are focused on beautification and clean-up, which means we’re helping remove litter from the environment. Through our work with The Crayon Initiative, we help sort and repurpose unwanted crayons, which are not biodegradable and create a waxy sludge that may not break down for centuries. To date, The Crayon Initiative has diverted more than a million crayons which were otherwise destined for landfills.
Q – Do you have any advice for other organizations who are hoping to launch a volunteer or other kind of community involvement program?
RH — As with any corporate program, success requires commitment, goals and the discipline to measure your efforts. In much the same way that a company chases sustainability goals, it is important to clearly identify what you expect to achieve with a volunteer program. There are many corporate volunteer resources out there, and some of the best ideas often come from our corporate peers. Other great resources and inspiration can be found through local volunteer council meetings and conferences.
Q – Any last thoughts?
RH — This year, we were named to the “Civic 50” by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. This award recognizes the 50 most service-minded companies in the nation for their commitment to responsible corporate citizenship, and for improving the quality of life in the communities where they do business. We are the only property and casualty insurer to earn this recognition and are pretty proud of this recognition!
Roger Hancock is the Community Affairs Manager for CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer. Founded in 1914, the company is one of the top personal lines insurance groups in the United States and offers automobile, homeowners and other personal lines of insurance to AAA members through partnerships with AAA clubs in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Located in Walnut Creek, California, the company headquarters is certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council for numerous sustainability accomplishments including using recycled content in more than 21 percent of the building’s construction, taking steps to provide superior air quality, promoting the use of alternative transportation, and saving more than 780,000 gallons of water annually.