On December 1, 2015, winners of the 2015 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards will be announced at the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit in Oakland, CA. In this series of posts, I’ll introduce you to people and ideas behind the ten most effective employee volunteer programs in our family of corporate clients, determined by performance against four benchmark measures in 2014.What makes your employee volunteer program special?
What makes JetBlue unique is that our Crewmembers are committed to the communities we serve. Our contagious passion to help others, unparalleled determination, and unwavering commitment to volunteerism has propelled our company to greater heights.
In 2014, approximately 1,607 Crewmembers logged a total of 105,278 volunteer hours, donating 4,000 travel certificates to the nonprofits they served. Giving has always played a large role in our success at JetBlue. JetBlue is fortunate to have passionate Crewmembers who inspire humanity every single day.
What impact has your program had on your office or company as a whole?
In 2014, we wanted to see how volunteerism was impacting our bottom line and worked with our Crewmember Insights team to measure it. We looked at the correlation between volunteerism, engagement, performance and customer net-promoter scores. Our hope was to find that the airports with a strong history of volunteerism also had stronger service in their terminals.
After collecting and analyzing data, we were delighted to learn that there was in fact a correlation. Crewmembers who participated in the Community Connection program (the name for our volunteer program) were more engaged, had higher performance ratings and provided more outstanding customer service than stations that did not have a history of service. This correlation proved the value of volunteerism to our bottom line because those who serve their community also serve our customers with excellence – and that service is what gives JetBlue customers a differentiated product from other carriers.
What are some specific volunteer-related accomplishments that you’re especially proud of?
For many of us, our most precious childhood memories are made on family vacations. Yet, the experience of travel can be particularly stressful for children with autism and their families. That is why we continue to partner with Autism Speaks for the annual Blue Horizons for Autism airport rehearsal event.
In September 2014, we hosted more than 250 families and individuals affected by autism at JFK so they could practice air travel simulations in a realistic environment. The event begins with check-ins, security screenings and plane boarding. Crewmembers then lead families through pre-takeoff procedures and taxi the jet around the jet-way before disembarking. Behavioral therapists are on hand throughout the day, and crewmembers receive training from Autism Speaks in advance of the event. We also supported Autism Speaks to develop ADVENTURES WITH AUTISM: THE AIRPORT EXPERIENCE, a guide to help families practice and prepare for travel.
Do you have an inspiring or fun volunteer-related story you’d like to share?
Here are some fun tidbits from our Crewmember volunteers of the year –
Linda Sollars, Pilot Volunteer of the Year
Linda, an A320 First Officer based at JFK, has volunteered with a number of organizations – domestically and abroad, including the Himalayan Development Foundation, and Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM). Linda is a role model for many women who hope to pursue a career in aviation – whether it be aircraft maintenance or flight operations. She aspires to help people discover their passions and achieve their goals in aviation.
Peter Emilo, Airports Volunteer of the Year
Peter, a Crewmember based at ROC, serves as Rochester’s CSR Liaison and does a great job of rallying Crewmembers together for volunteer events in the community. Peter has been an active volunteer with the Jefferson Avenue Childhood Development Center for several years. His commitment to this organization has also helped make Rochester a little cleaner and greener, as he spends most of his time collecting cans and bottles to raise funds for their annual Christmas party.
Richard Alalouf, Inflight Volunteer of the Year
Richard, an Inflight Crewmember based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has spent countless hours volunteering with the South Florida Family Pride and the Pride Center – two organizations that support, advocacy, and fun to LGBT families in South Florida. One of his fondest volunteer moments came while he was concluding an annual fundraiser that he organized. When he took to the stage to close out the event he heard his son call his name, followed by the words “I love you.”
Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks, and announcement of the winners on December 1, 2015 during the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit.