On February 24, the world watched Russia invade Ukraine. While there are many factors at play, we can all agree that this is a horrifying experience for those living in Ukraine. Many business owners and managers are watching the events unfold via the news and other media channels feeling powerless. How can we do our work while so many are suffering across the globe? Fortunately, there are some steps companies can take to help those affected:
1. Reach out to your stakeholders. If your company has employees, contracted workers, suppliers or partners in Ukraine or affected neighboring countries, reach out and extend help in any way possible.
2. Encourage your employees to donate. Provide legitimate organizations for your employees to donate to, such as Ukrainians of Colorado, GlobalGiving or Save The Children. If possible, show your support – and do more good – by matching employee donations.
3. Give your employees a day off to attend a protest. Allowing employees to take time off to go to a local protest could assuage their feelings of helplessness, facilitate stronger inter-employee connections and boost company moral. To find protests near you, search Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using relevant hashtags (#Ukraine, #nowar, #StandWithUkraine) and Google.
4. Leverage any capacity to help your company has: Your company may have the ability to support Ukraine in its own way. For example, Airbnb is providing free temporary housing for up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. However, you do not need to be a large company to help. Your company may have a niche authority they can leverage. King Soopers’ liquor store in Glendale, for example, pulled Russian vodka from its shelves and a bakery in Canada baked cookies featuring the colors of the Ukrainian flag and is donating all proceeds to the Ukrainian cause.
5. Allow affected employees to take time off. Allow employees with family in the Ukraine or otherwise directly affected by the crisis to take time off to grieve, process or sort out their situation. Your employees are one of your most important stakeholders. Supporting them is an integral part of any strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
6. Get creative! If none of the above options are a good fit for your company, find one that is. Might you purchase art from Ukrainian artists to refresh your office for the upcoming return to in-person work? Or take your team to this Denver immersive experience that raises funds for Ukraine? At the very least, your company can make a statement of solidarity.
In summary, your company can help tilt the fate of Ukraine toward peace. In fact, leveraging our business resources to support Ukraine (and others in similar situations) is considered by some experts a requirement for best-in-class CSR. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy may have said it best: “We are all people of this world. We should be together, we should be strong and show solidarity.”
Spark the Change Colorado, Community Shares of Colorado, B:CIVIC