The Slovenia Times

Think Global, Act Local: Goodyear's Community Engagement in Slovenia



Can you give an overview of community engagement at Goodyear?

Goodyear has a long history of community engagement and corporate social responsibility. We operate all over the world and our associates help bring our company's commitment to care for our communities to life. Within the last few years, we've undergone a change process and started to think about some of the core areas that are authentic to Goodyear, that we can align community programs too. We have started to focus our efforts around safety, smart (education), and sustainability. A great program in sustainability is here in Slovenia - "Pay Attention to the Environment." The foundation piece for us is associate engagement, so I wouldn't presume to know what we're doing in all of our regions throughout the world. We really like the idea of a focused yet flexible approach, where we empower our associates to be advocates on the ground. That is a cornerstone of the work that we do. Community engagement is a win-win for us because our associates interact with their communities, they get to be proud corporate citizens acting on behalf of Goodyear, and our communities receive the benefit of engagement.

Why are you in Slovenia?

I'm here as an advocate for our team's work. We kicked off the seventh annual Pay Attention to the Environment campaign. Within sustainability, this program is one that we always point to on a global scale, so I'm here to see it first-hand. This program is aligned with our overall strategy (safe, smart, sustainable). It also meaningfully involves Goodyear associates. The program itself actually started as an idea from our associates and it's leveraging their expertise. Another big piece is that it involves partners. We are very collaborative by nature and we recognise that we will be able to achieve greater results if we involve other companies that are focused on similar causes. Pay Attention to the Environment now has 60 partner organisations, including schools and other sustainability organisations. For many different reasons, this program and our team here in Slovenia are best in class in how Goodyear wants to engage in our local communities.

What are the challenges of empowering people to be involved, especially in a multinational company?

We recognise that not all of our associates are interested in the same things. I think that it's really about getting their input and asking what would be meaningful to them. It's not about trying to empower all people or engage them with one initiative from Goodyear, but asking what someone cares about and finding out if there is something going on where we can act them with. We connect like-minded associates together. If someone in Brazil wants to do a sustainability initiative working with schools to reduce their carbon footprint, we'll refer them to Slovenia. We like best practice sharing throughout our organisation.

How does community engagement transform internal workplace relationships?

Community engagement and giving back is a team building experience. We look at two things: the ability to network with others who you might not work with day-to-day and new skill sets that you might develop through working together in a community space. 74 percent of employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided with opportunities to make a positive impact. Many times it's just up to the company to set that up and harness it. We notice that when Goodyear provides the opportunity to engage, it trickles back into the workplace more than if associates went out and found it on their own. And they have this sense of comradery. I think that any manager or leader who is looking for ways to positively influence their staff, community engagement is a great avenue to consider.


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