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A sense of purpose


“ANZ and The Smith Family have been partners for more than 30 years and in that time we’ve been able to improve the financial wellbeing of thousands of people. That’s something all of our people can be really proud of.” 

For almost all individuals and families, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought some form of disruption.


However, the disruption caused to those most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society has not only increased, but added more complexities to already compounding issues - the disparities have become glaringly obvious.


ANZ: COVID-19 India Appeal

ANZ is matching employee and customer donations up to $1 million, until 30 June 2021. You can support the appeal here.


Employers have stepped up to consider how they can contribute to help close this gap and provide support to the societies we live in and cultivate a sense of purpose.


Millennials make up around 75 per cent of the workforce globally. A research paper by PWC found Millennials want their work to have a purpose, to contribute something to the world and they want to be proud of their employer.


When I joined ANZ a few years ago, I was impressed to learn about our long history of giving something back. During World War II for example, our staff played an active role in providing support to people across the globe with food parcels.


Today, workplace giving at ANZ comes in many forms. Our people give of their time, skills and resources to support the community.


We have a number of programs and initiatives that facilitate this culture of giving back and it is a great reminder for us as an organisation to support those in need.


Having leaders who champion the cause is also critical – which is why I’m really proud to be the Executive Sponsor of our Workplace Giving and Volunteering programs.


When our people see leaders getting involved, it gives them the freedom to also think about how they can contribute and participate in activities to help others.


Food parcels for Britain - 1943.


A clear focus


The introduction of ANZ’s purpose “to help shape a world where people and communities thrive” also helped strengthen the giving culture at ANZ and focused our attention on areas we believe we can make a significant societal contribution including financial wellbeing, environmental sustainability and housing.


A great example of this is our long and successful partnership with The Smith Family - the Australian charity working to break the cycle of disadvantage by engaging children in their education.


ANZ is The Smith Family’s number one workplace giving corporate partner and in 2020 we were awarded Silver in the ‘Most Innovative Charity and Employer Partnership’ category at the 2020 Workplace Giving Excellence Awards.


The partnership highlights our shared focus on enhancing the financial wellbeing of Australians.


Key to the partnership’s success has been the delivery of financial education programs like Saver Plus, MoneyMinded and development of the Certificate 1 in Financial Services course.


It’s an opportunity for our people to invest their time and expertise in programs which deliver tangible outcomes to the community, and the benefits to both organisations are significant.


More recently, the partnership has extended to where ANZ also supports The Smith Family’s work through cadetships, fundraising, workplace giving,  Work Inspiration, and volunteering.


Our size means we’re able to assist organisations on a larger scale and have more tangible impacts.

Through our workplace giving program, ANZ employees sponsor more than 60 Learning for Life students, helping to break the cycle of disadvantage.


COVID-19 made us think creatively


I lost count of the number of times in the past year I’ve been asked about volunteering opportunities.


I’ve been impressed with our people’s capacity for empathy, collaboration and their generosity of spirit, even when faced with the challenges of the pandemic.


While face-to-face volunteering experiences were limited, it’s been an opportunity for our people and community partners to think creatively.


I’m really proud that more than 20 per cent of our people last year managed to volunteer during a difficult year for our community partners.


A great example is ANZ’s support of The Smith Family to create a virtual format of their Work Inspiration program.


Being part of the face-to-face initiative myself the year before, I saw first-hand the value of this program. It was incredibly wonderful to hear our people making a concerted effort to make a difference to the next generation, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns.


Continuing to engage our people in the program


Keeping things fresh and innovative are ways we continue to engage our people to give something back.


We saw an incredible 34 per cent uplift in participation (in our Australian workplace giving program) after we made the double matching announcement. It’s a program we still offer today.


Last year our people contributed close to $390K to the bushfire appeal and we’re seeing generosity from our people in response to ANZ’s current appeal to support colleagues in COVID-19 affected India.


This article has been adapted from the original interview with HRD – Why workplace giving is more important than ever.

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