Best Buy fosters charitable giving during the holidays and beyond

Helping employees find meaningful ways to give back to their communities helps energize them, even during the busiest retail season of the year, says Chris Taylor, chief human resources officer at Best Buy Canada.

“We have so many programs throughout the year, but like at many companies it really ramps up during the holidays,” he says.

In 2017, Best Buy started using Benevity’s myGiving charitable giving platform. When employees donate to a Canadian-registered charity, they receive a 40 per cent match from their employer. During the holiday season, the company matches employee donations at 100 per cent.

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Through the platform, employees can also track their volunteer hours with registered charity. And they have the flexibility to make a donation with a credit card or through a direct payroll deduction. 

Charity is a year-round activity, says Taylor. One of the store’s core programs is a partnership with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Last July, 680 employees attended the company’s 10th annual charity softball tournament, raising $100,000 for the SickKids Foundation.

“It’s truly homegrown. The folks that drive it are in day jobs, whether it’s a district job or a store-leader job — they take their own time and they put such immense energy behind it.”

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The tournament is also a way to bring employees together from across Best Buy’s national presence. Fostering a culture of teamwork and shared values can — and does — include something as simple as setting up dunk tanks for the tournament, says Taylor. “The stores get to see the senior teams getting out there, getting dunked — and it’s a lot of fun.”

Since an initiative like this one can’t help but divert some employees’ energy from their core roles, it’s important they feel supported in taking on the tasks needed to give back, he says. “They know that to Best Buy this is as important as taking care of our customers or taking care of our community, so they all feel great about the initiative.”

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