Erste Bank recognizes its social responsibility and the challenge of aligning their economic and social goals. The business philosophy of Erste Bank, in addition to its aspiration to be a company that achieves good business results, includes its desire to become a long-term and stable partner to the economy and population of the country in which it operates and contribute through its continuous proactive endeavors to develop local society. The bank has also identified that employee volunteering can contribute to:
- Environmental protection;
- Active efforts in local communities;
- Development of volunteerism.
The Bank has addressed this challenge through integrating corporate volunteering within its business practice and established clear principles and procedures for the implementation of volunteer activities in order to encourage its employees to participate and then initiate new actions themselves.
The goal of the program is to create awareness for the need for involvement in local communities among the Bank employees as well as the citizens. The volunteering activities of Erste Bank Serbia may be classified into two groups:
1. Group volunteering campaigns - One major and several regional volunteering campaigns are organized every year. Volunteers also support campaigns initiated by other companies.
2. Individual volunteering of employees - Providing employees with an opportunity to contribute to problem resolution and acquire specific skills working with different social groups in local communities.
Key stakeholders involved in the project are:
- Partner organizations,
- Professional associations and organizations,
- Local community and citizens.
- The main challenge that the Bank faced when initiating the volunteering program was the insufficient familiarity of the public with the corporate volunteering concept.
- Internally, it was necessary to explain to the employees why it is important for them to engage as individuals in such initiatives.
- The support by the top management and the workshops organized before the program start made the initiative possible.
- It was found that potential partners in organizing such campaigns lacked sufficient experience in the field of cooperation with the corporate sector, this required additional meetings and discussions on this subject.
- On average three groups of volunteering campaigns are organized annually.
- On average, 25 employees participate in regional campaigns and around 70 employees in a major annual campaign.
- Around 20 employees participate in individual volunteering.
- Restoration and revitalization of parks, botanical gardens and resorts.
- Field trips and workshops for children from marginalized groups.
- Providing assistance to citizens in personal finance management (workshops organized by the National Bank of Serbia and eight commercial banks who are members of the UN Global Compact), assistance to students at the competition of secondary school students in entrepreneurship, participation in numerous workshops and lectures, mentoring