Service Without Borders

Mahatma Gandhi said it best: “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.” When business and healthcare organizations make service their highest priority, they’re valuing their customers. However, their commitment to service generates further good when it extends beyond the boundaries of the workplace.

Here are three ways organizations can increase the magnitude of their service and improve the world:

1) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs give employees the opportunity to volunteer and provide service to their communities. Achievers, an organization committed to driving higher employee engagement, notes on their blog that “organizations with well-defined social responsibility programs can improve their brand reputation, attract more job candidates and customers, and increase employee engagement.”

The social and environmental responsibility program at The Ritz-Carlton is known as Community Footprints®. Employees at hotels around the globe participate in local activities that support child well-being, hunger and poverty relief, and environmental responsibility. The mission of Community Footprints states: “At The Ritz-Carlton, we have built a legacy of extraordinary service. This tradition extends into our Community Footprints program and inspires us to impact the lives of others. Every contribution we make is an opportunity to leave an imprint on our communities. It is through this collection of imprints that we can make a meaningful difference.”

Community Footprints volunteer events take place around the world—and are even woven into executive meetings. Recently, Herve Humler, President & Chief Operations Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., convened 90 Ritz-Carlton General Managers for a three-day conference at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. To kick off the conference, the General Managers spent the afternoon with nearly 200 students at a high school that serves low-income communities in the Mission District of San Francisco.

In 11 classrooms, small teams made up of two Ritz-Carlton General Managers and four students collaborated on issues impacting the hotel industry such as identifying the biggest area of water waste at a hotel and presenting one strategy for reducing consumption. The teams worked together to generate and evaluate ideas, agree on potential solutions and create two-minute presentations. Students gained real-life problem-solving and collaboration skills, and through the expert guidance of our General Managers, they were also able to refine their presentation skills.

2) IMPACT 2030

IMPACT 2030, Corporate Volunteering for Sustainable Development, is a global private sector-led initiative in collaboration between the United Nations and other stakeholders. The purpose of IMPACT 2030 is to “advance the practice of employee volunteering, and create real and sustainable change.” IMPACT 2030 notes that corporations are “uniquely poised to respond to the needs of a rapidly changing world.”

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is the first Founding Partner of IMPACT 2030 and is partnering with many global companies, including IBM, Google and Tata Consulting Services. Sue Stephenson, Vice President of Community Footprints at The Ritz-Carlton, commented that “We’re all very excited about the possibilities of this global program that will leverage the skills and experience of employees to help address some of the most critical issues for our planet. It is about the power of our people to create real and sustainable change.”

There are several ways that companies can partner with IMPACT 2030. In addition, stakeholders from civil society, academia, philanthropic organizations and the public sector are invited to join the IMPACT 2030 network.

3) The Global Goals

One hundred ninety-three world leaders committed to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, known as the Global Goals, on September 25, 2015. These 17 Goals focus on ending extreme poverty; fighting inequality and injustice; and addressing climate change over the next 15 years. The 17 Goals are universally applicable, and every country is establishing indicators to track the progress of each goal through 2030. The new goals replace the Millennial Development Goals and as this video humorously explains, finish the work that was already started.

Organizations can help engage, educate and inspire their employees about the role they can play in impacting the Global Goals. IMPACT 2030 has supported the creation of the Global Goals Employer Hub, which offers organizations tools and suggestions for participation. Organizations can also share information on the website about their projects related to the Global Goals.

Together We Impact the World

Eliminating poverty, cleaning oceans, making cities safe, and reducing inequality among countries and between people may seem like unachievable goals, but as United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has noted: “Volunteerism … is among society’s most vital assets.” By marshaling their resources and working together, organizations will play a role in bringing about sustainable societal change and make the world a better place. 

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center offers advisory services, courses and presentations to organizations that wish to benchmark the award-winning business practices of The Ritz-Carlton. Your organization can learn about The Ritz-Carlton methodology for customer service, employee engagement and leadership development. We also guide organizations through a multi-step process in order to achieve sustainable culture transformation.