This article originally appeared on Nielsen.com.
At Nielsen, we’re committed to our communities, and we encourage our employees to volunteer and give back. Through Nielsen Cares, our global employee volunteer program, we encourage our associates to identify and lead projects that are aligned with our values to make a positive impact. We understand the power of our employees’ time and skills, and we provide 24 hours of dedicated volunteering to each associate annually. And our associates are just as committed as we are as an organization.
Jake Comito, a Commercial Emerging Leader Associate (ELA) at Nielsen, is one of our passionate associates, and his passion has helped strengthen our relationship with All Hands and Hearts—Smart Response (AHAH). In August 2017, Jake mobilized his fellow ELAs to travel to Houston after Hurricane Harvey. His dedication to helping others hasn’t just been a personal initiative; it has helped Nielsen Cares create a lasting relationship with AHAH.
In fact, we announced a year-long collaboration with the organization this past November. As part of our commitment to AHAH, a group of 19 Nielsen associates from across the U.S. traveled to New Bern, N.C., from April 29-May 5, 2019 to help families and the community recover from Hurricane Florence.
During their trip, employees logged 674 volunteer hours, contributing to the critical repair, gutting, and mold sanitation of four homes. Thanks to their efforts, the team also completed community cleanup and helped the Free Will Baptist Church obtain new bunk beds. The group’s assistance in building these beds has supported the longevity of the program and gave all volunteers in North Carolina a comfortable place to sleep.
“The Nielsen group brought such a positive energy that lasted the whole week. They were so hardworking in the field and on base,” said Dani Greenwald, Corporate Relations Manager at AHAH. “They helped us get ahead on our projected work schedules for the homes, which ultimately allows us to assist even more people. They also provided invaluable assistance with preparations for our base move, allowing us to move four days early.”
Volunteering is part of the overall employee experience at Nielsen, and these opportunities help associates connect with the company’s mission and purpose while creating long-lasting professional and personal relationships.
“At Nielsen, we want our associate experiences to reflect our mission, and we encourage them to connect with our communities and the world. The relationship and volunteer opportunities with All Hands and Hearts—Smart Response have not only allowed our associates to connect and give back as communities recover from disasters, but also connect with each other and grow their skills,” said Andrea Bertels, Vice President of Global Responsibility & Sustainability, Nielsen.
In a follow-up survey, participants reported that the trip reinforced their belief in teamwork and allowed them to be more open to community service. Our volunteers shared a sense of accomplishment and gratitude; they were able to learn new skills, and they used the opportunity to align with Nielsen’s mission. We were pleased to hear our employees support diversity of thought and experience in their teams and how they shared the benefits of everyone’s individual knowledge and abilities.
“I am forever changed by this experience,” said Sandra Stoddard, a software developer at Nielsen and a volunteer in New Bern. “I have never worked harder or laughed more or felt so connected to such a large group of people that I just met.”
We will continue the commitment to disaster relief efforts and our collaboration with AHAH. Later in 2019, Nielsen volunteer groups will return to Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, and Houston to spend a week repairing homes, roofing and sanitizing for mold.