Corporate social responsibility helps build a team
At Ideaca, people and the community are important. Through the coordinating efforts of its Social Responsibility Task Force, which includes a representative from each of its five offices, Ideaca has extended its reach – locally, nationally and internationally. Community involvement is driven by employee feedback. Ideacans (as they call themselves) get to choose where they direct their support and bring their talents and enthusiasm to every cause
IDEACA AND THE FLOOD
Valuable as Ideaca’s community support has been in the past, it paled in comparison to the urgency and magnitude of the challenge of the Calgary flood of June 2013, which threatened not only the surrounding community but also Ideaca and Ideacans themselves. Carla White, Ideaca’s employee relations advisor describes what happened below.
“As the waters continued to rise on Thursday night, June 20, dozens upon dozens of internal e-mails were going around offering up places to stay, a shelter for pets, a ride to anywhere you needed to go, a truck to come and get you and everything it can hold – the outpouring of offers was unprecedented. The next day, we quickly realized that two of our own Ideacans had to leave their homes because of major flood damage and that our Ideaca office itself was filled with over seven feet of water. Over the next few days, teams formed quickly to lend helping hands to our fellow Ideacans in their own homes (some cleaned up, some brought supplies, while others cooked up meals and delivered water). In addition, every day, a different team of employees voluntarily came into Ideaca and we worked together to clean up the mess that the seven feet of water left behind.”
RESPONDING TO THE CALL.
For Ideaca, all regular business activity in Calgary stopped. Everything in the basement of the office was damaged by the water – desks, computers, servers and personal items. Two weeks later, with electricity back, employees with desks upstairs were able to return to work. Those who had worked in the basement had to be relocated and over six months later we’re still not back. As for the Ideacans who were evacuated from their homes, they are still adjusting.
HOW DID THEY PREPARE?
Although they could not have predicted the flood, Ideacans were well-prepared to cope with misfortune. They had worked together both in national campaigns where all five offices across Canada shared the same goals and in local initiatives in support of community causes. Ideaca also has a record of supporting the personal initiatives of individual employees, even when those initiatives take them far afield.
From 2009-2011, Ideaca’s national partner was Habitat for Humanity. Each office across the country held events to raise money and once a year, a team from each office took part in a build day in their respective cities. Collectively, they raised approximately $22,500 and had about 85 employees building homes with the Habitat crew. Over the years, Ideacans across Canada have also participated in Movember – growing mustaches in support of prostate cancer research and men’s health – and donated blood with Canadian Blood Services. Leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, they sponsored three Olympic athletes, one from each province with an Ideaca office. Each year, as a tribute to an employee who lost her battle with breast cancer, offices across Canada sponsor teams that participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure, renamed at Ideaca as “A Day for Deb.”
Individual offices also support local initiatives. For example, Ideacans at the Toronto and Kitchener offices raise money to support Adopt a Family, a Christmas sharing program at Moorelands Community Services that provides gifts and food for children in Toronto whose families are struggling to make ends meet. In 2013, they raised money through traditional means like a bake sale, and more imaginatively by daring each other to take on a challenge and then either paying the staff member to make good on the dare (e.g. wearing the jersey of a hated team) or buying themselves out.
Twice Ideaca has supported the volunteer initiatives of Carla White. In 2012 she started an organization called “Carla Bikes Africa to End Energy Poverty” and rode her bicycle the length of Africa (12,000 km), raising almost $25,000 to pay for 10 solar lights in villages along her route as well as a wind turbine in South Africa. To help, Ideaca provided Carla with an extended vacation and short-term leave of absence so that she could pursue her goal over a five-month period. Earlier, in 2011, Ideaca donated Carla a week’s vacation so she could volunteer with a Tsunami Relief Team in Japan, where she had lived for many years. In return, she gave a presentation about her experience at a monthly staff meeting.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Events have proven that Ideaca’s track record of supporting people and building stronger communities helped it survive what might have been a catastrophic natural disaster. Ideaca has emerged from 2013 with a better bottom line, not only because it is embarking on a new business relationship with Hitachi Solutions that will make it a player in a global context, but also because its spirit of giving and giving back is intact. On the third day in the office after the flood, Ideacans held their annual Manager’s Stampede Breakfast and donated all proceeds to the Calgary Red Cross. During the Stampede, they gave Alberta Flood Relief half the proceeds from their Angus Cattle Run (a variation of Amble with Angus, the annual 5-K run Ideaca helps to sponsor). The focus on people and the community continues.
Ideaca is a Canadian based consulting firm helping customers from strategy to solution through a portfolio of management consulting, implementation and support services. With more than 10 years of experience and over 350 satisfied customers, Ideaca’s 300+ employees across the country deliver innovative solutions around Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Intelligence, Portals and Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Custom Development and Integration, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Application Infrastructure, and Support Services.
In 2013, Ideaca was acquired by Hitachi Solutions, Ltd. and officially become Hitachi Solutions Canada, Ltd. in April 2014. The firm’s excellence has been widely acknowledged: it was recognized as a Best Workplace in Canada by the Great Place to Work® Institute (2013, 2012 and 2011), named to Branham 300’s list of Top ICT Companies in Canada (2013 and 2012) and admitted to Microsoft’s Gold Certified Partner Excellence Program.