At Intel Israel, managers encourage the employees and lead by example, employees contribute and feel empowered and the community enjoys the fruits. It is no wonder that Tal Ezra-Shemer, the manager of the company’s vast volunteering project, calls her workplace “Happiness Department.” “We have no doubt that the more you give and engage in things that enhance your sense of value and personal fulfillment, the happier you are”
About a month ago, on the last Tu Bishvat, 150 of Intel employees arrived at the Knesset to commemorate the 70th anniversary of our legislature and to celebrate achieving the target set by management in early 2018- 5,500 volunteers! Now, less then a month after, and the number of volunteers at Intel Israel is already 6,000, which means: one out of every two employees at Intel Israel volunteer.
150 Leading volunteers on Tu Bishvat, 2019
I was curious to find out how can you integrate social activity in a huge corporation like Intel Israel, with 12,000 employees, so I reached out to Tal Ezra- Shemer, the manager, and coordinator of this huge volunteering project in Intel Israel’s corporate affairs department. “Intel Management encourages volunteering by providing the legitimation and leading by example. A research performed by the Central Bureau of Statistics In 2007, showed that 90% of people who volunteered were generally satisfied with their lives. The volunteers were also happy with their workplace, which is a hard point to argue with. As a leading corporation, we embraced volunteering as a value promoting the benefit of the organization, employee and community- Win, Win, Win situation. We believe this should be the business model for any organization”.
– What is your job description?
Tal Ezra- Shemer
“My role in the in the group is manage volunteering activities in Intel, and in Haifa in particular. I find myself interacting within the community, Haifa municipality, external partners, and then go home to Intel to continue working with the group and the company’s management and employees. One of my roles is being involved in national activities, attending meetings regarding volunteering activities and promoting partnerships with national organizations. In my other role, I work on collaborations with partners in Haifa and local activities. My job is very diverse and fascinating, when in fact, I create a win-win process, between community needs, and the desires, needs and strengths of Intel”.
The fact that an organization as large as Intel allocates a specific position such as this one is not a given. Ezra- Shemer agrees and adds: “I call us the ‘happiness department’ and I`m happy being a part of that. We at Intel believe that the more you give and do things that get you closer to self-realization, you become happier”.
The corporate affairs department, headed by the Director of Corporate affairs Bella Abrahams, is responsible for foreign relations, media, education, academy, corporate governance, and community relations. “We are a group of people, who spend their time to make volunteering and community service more meaningful. We provide 360 degree cover providing cross-organization support. Teamwork drove us to reach this amazing goal of 6,000 volunteers”.
A special kit that allows employees to lecture easily in schools.
Team volunteering: employees paint on a good deeds day through “Ruach Tova” non- profit.
Volunteering at Intel is divided into three categories.
One type is group volunteering: the hole department goes out for a joint activity, usually in the fields of education, welfare or environment. Some of the activities are carried out in cooperation with the non-profit “Ruach Tova”, which provides a great platform for that subject.
Long term volunteering: helping students in the science- tech education
The second type is long term volunteering which is led by volunteer leaders, mainly in around science- tech education in Israel. Company employees regularly participate, for example, in a program such as “Positive Thinking” assisting students privately in math and English. Other employees participate in programs meant to encourage girls to succeed in science and technology, such as “Cracking the Glass Ceiling” in Kiryat Gat, “Leaders for the Technion” in Haifa, “Mehamemet Project” in Jerusalem and “Path Thinking” in Petah Tikva. Another project is using “Tik-Tak” – allowing students to ask questions online while preparing homework and receiving responses from volunteers.
Individual volunteering: CEO of Intel Israel, Yaniv Garty, giving a lecture in his son class with “Intelligent Kit”
The third type is individual volunteering- each employee volunteers based on his/ her hobbies and interests. Many volunteer in their children’s schools, others prefer to donate to other nonprofits, according to their inclination, such as the LGBT community, associations promoting the Arab sector, associations for people with disabilities, associations set to promote women and girls, etc.
Ezra- Shemer: “In their individual volunteering, we provide employees tools and platforms that make volunteering a simpler and more accessible experience. For example, ‘Intelligent’, an innovative kit to assist teaching in schools”.
In addition to encouraging volunteering among employees, Intel also provides incentives to educational institutes in the amount of 10$ for each volunteering hour. Employees, on the other hand, mark their volunteering hours in their timesheet allowing organizations another benefit from their activities.
Volunteering in Intel is an international challenge
Last year, Intel Corporation had celebrated 50 years of activity, while defining a special, but challenging target- 50,000 volunteers all over the world (out of a little more than 100,000 employees). The target set by Intel Israel, to reach one volunteer out of every two employees, and its realization positions the Israelis in a very respectable place in Intel’s global ecosystem.
“The satisfaction is incredible”, says Ezra-Shemer proudly. “We know that every year we directly influence hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of people. Every year 8,000 people visit the Israeli Intel branch. In our “Two times Five” promoting tech science education we affect thousands of students inspiring them to study for 5 units for school finals in math, technology, and science”.
Group volunteering: Students prepared boards with new year wishes for children.
– How do you make volunteering really significant?
“I think that one of the secrets to success is the ability to provide employees with a variety of geographically accessible opportunities for short-term and long-term volunteering. So we treat planning of those activities the same as any other organizational activity- seriously, strategically with emphasis on planning, feedback with the employees and constant monitoring study and development along with the volunteers, and the organizations we do the work with. As a data-driven company, we constantly analyze our impact, not only numerically, but also our economic impact”.
– And what are the results?
We initiated and conducted a first of its kind study in Israel, together with the Samuel Neaman Institute, to assess the economic and social impact of a business company in Israel. The research enables us to see in a broad manner all our economic and social impacts during the past decade. We believe that social impact can and should be measured and intend to continue doing so in the pursuit of constant improvement.
“From our employees, we learn that they take pride in being a part of an organization that does good and contributes to society. This is a favorite and appreciated part of Intel’s corporate identity. As far as the company is concerned, in the volunteer activity, the employees sharpen their skills and enhance their personal added value. An employee who volunteers at the school improves his presentation abilities, the way he processes and communicates information, and more. Of course, each activity enhances networking and self-positioning, and of course a sense of high personal value”.
For example, Yuval, who gives a ride to blind and visually impaired on “Tandem” bicycle, as part of the “Yes and No” non- profit tells us that he learns a lot about himself during the ride, and of course- he is not alone. He, of course, is not alone in this matter- All the volunteers feel that volunteering gives them meaning and a sense of self-worth and ability.
“We at Intel are a group that has a fantasy and has been working for years to enable our employees to help and do good,” concludes Ezra-Shemer. President Shimon Peres has already said: “People who do not have an imagination do not do fantastic things.”