Over the past few years, volunteering has become a mandatory part of Nornickel’s corporate culture and social mission.
The programme is an opportunity for the employees and their families to do charity in their free time.
It helps build a corporate culture, foster shared values bringing employees closer together, improve teamwork and enhance relations between different functions.
The programme comprises five elements: company-wide charitable initiatives, Volunteer Club, Pro-bono (i.e. professional work without compensation), volunteer projects suggested and implemented by employees, and a personal donation programme. There is a whole gamut of interesting projects an employee can opt for depending on the preferred engagement level and amount of free time.
It is important to us that our employees and their families have simple, accessible, and inspiring ways to help those in need and that they can make tangible contributions to improving the lives of people in the localities in which Nornickel operates.
We believe that volunteering helps people grow and improve as individuals, all the while helping them cultivate important skills as Nornickel employees, including the ability to offer a helping hand to those in need, work in a team, listen, be proactive, and take responsibility. Finally, volunteering connects people who live far away from one another in different cities and regions, who work in different departments of a large company, and even those who simply work on different floors of the same office building, bringing them together in pursuit of the same goal: to change the world around them for the better.
The Factory of Good
Nornickel’s corporate volunteering program is called The Factory of Good. It brings together a large breadth of different volunteering and charity projects and operates in all the areas that Nornickel calls home: the Norilsk Industrial District, the Kola Peninsula, and the cities of Chita and Moscow.
Depending on how much time and resources one hopes to commit, there is a volunteering opportunity for everyone. Volunteers can run races for charities, visit kids at orphanages, make toys with their own hands, participate in a New Year’s philanthropic fair, take part in a «Saturday clean-up» or an eco-marathon, make a donation to the needy, and much, much more. A calendar of volunteering events can be found on our internal corporate portal.
What is more, any employee can pitch a volunteering idea, design the project in question, and get financial and organisational support from Nornickel to put it in motion. From 2017 to 2020, Nornickel’s volunteers implemented 237 employee-proposed volunteering projects. The number and quality of volunteering events has grown from year to year and we have accumulated enough experience to better understand the specific needs of each region.
The Factory of Good is open not only to company employees, but also to their family members, employees of partner companies, representatives of non-profit organisations, and local residents.
Here are some of the programmes the Factory of Good oversees:
The large-scale environmental marathon Up and Rolling! (PonesLos) was launched in 2016 in Monchegorsk. PonesLos translates into English as «up and rolling,» but, in Russian, it is a play on the word los (moose) — Monchegorsk’s official mascot. According to an urban legend, a moose would come to the local plant’s construction site every morning and every evening to watch the ongoing work.
The eco-marathon, which began as regular Saturday clean-ups of natural sites, is the central event of this volunteering initiative. It includes activities to improve the urban landscape in all participating cities and environmental education programmes.
Running annually from May to September, the eco-marathon presents participants with numerous environmental challenges, as they compete for a prize. Tasks range from common eco-friendly projects (like picking up litter) to personally designed, complex initiatives. The prize, which is allocated from Nornickel’s budget, is invested in teambuilding and charity.
From 2016 to 2020, the number of marathon participants increased from 100 to 17,000 people.
Nornickel’s volunteering programme has always involved extensive interpersonal communication between volunteers, which meant that the COVID-19 pandemic posed a great challenge to the programme’s success. Nevertheless, we were able to quickly adapt to the new epidemiological reality, respond to new needs arising in our community, and initiate a number of local projects to improve standards of living in the midst of this crisis.
For example, volunteers from Nornickel’s Bystrinsky mining and processing factory joined forces with the Transbaikal Regional Branch of Russia’s Volunteering Union to deliver basic necessities to high-risk individuals and the elderly in the city of Chita and the village of Gazimursky Zavod. Nornickel pays for the necessities. The company also provided all volunteers participating in this initiative with masks, hand sanitisers, and gloves.
Ten Bystrinsky employees mobilised to deliver care packages with food to pensioners. Each of these employees also received special emergency training at an online university for Russian volunteers as well as certification. Working remotely, other 10 employees sewed masks for elderly people and for volunteers participating in other movements.
In Monchegorsk, the Factory of Good participants recruited in a flash call for volunteers produced reusable marks using medical-grade gauze purchased by Nornickel. Before starting their work, the volunteers consulted with doctors and studied video instructions on mask sewing.
Personal Donation Programme
Nornickel employees can take part in a personal donation programme aimed at supporting people in difficult life situations, as well as chip in to existing campaigns initiated by charities and foundations. Employees can make a personal donation directly from their work computer using the corporate portal. In addition, all Nornickel sites have special donation boxes; the company doubles the amount collected in these boxes. Since its launch, 8,300 employees have participated in the personal donation programme.
Why Is Volunteering Important?
Participating in volunteering programmes helps employees develop qualities that are important for personal and career growth, including:
- Proactivity and the ability to take initiatives;
- Effective complex problem solving;
- Leadership skills.
Volunteering at Nornickel requires skills that many employees already make use of in their daily work in areas such as planning, marketing, and project management. After all, an idea is never enough — ideas must be implemented, funded, promoted, and embraced to make a difference.
In the end, everyone benefits from volunteering: our employees develop important skills, make new friends, reap satisfaction from helping others, and see the tangible fruits of their efforts, while the beneficiaries of volunteering initiatives get real support in solving pressing problems.
Meanwhile, Nornickel sees its human capital grow ever more capable of solving the most complex production and business tasks.
Who Are Nornickel’s Volunteers?
Nornickel’s corporate volunteers are kind people who profoundly care about their communities, about those who benefit directly from the volunteers’ initiatives, about the company as a whole, and about the cities and the country they call home. Many of these individuals are also involved in another important corporate programme titled «Those who care,» which helps develop and implement practical changes within the company.
Most importantly, anyone can become a corporate volunteer at Nornickel. It is easy!
You can learn more about volunteering programmes and how to join them on our corporate portal or by contacting the unit responsible for social policy at your enterprise, branch, or Nornickel subsidiary.
Learn more about the lives of volunteers on the «Factory of Good» pages on Twitter and Facebook: