Going the extra mile to help others

BigSteelBox employees come together with Care Forward Program
By Peter Tonkin
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/13/2017
BigSteelBox
Employees at BigSteelBox in Kelowna, B.C., in 2016. Courtesy: BigSteelBox

Last spring, Richard, a BigSteelBox employee, came in to work and was noticeably distressed. His manager reached out right away to see what the trouble was.

Richard explained that when he left his home for work that morning, he discovered that his truck was not in its typical parking space.

He immediately called the police and commenced the search for his vehicle, but he soon learned his truck was found in a ditch just outside of town, burnt to the ground.

Richard was beside himself, unsure of what he was going to do. He was dependent on his vehicle for everything from driving to work in the morning, to taking his kids to school and after-school activities.

To make matters worse, several items that were left in his car were now gone as well, including his young son’s car seat.

Richard went about his regular day’s work and did it with the best attitude he could muster. But after hearing about his ordeal, Richard’s colleagues at BigSteelBox knew they needed to do something to help.

Helping each other

BigSteelBox — a mobile storage provider in shipping containers with headquarters in Kelowna, B.C. — isn’t just a company that works in the moving and storage and industry. It’s also a family. When family members are in need, we are there to help each other out, no questions asked.

That’s why Richard’s colleagues felt he would be a perfect recipient of the Care Forward Program, so they immediately submitted a request for assistance to the Care Forward Committee.

The Care Forward Program is unique to BigSteelBox and falls outside of the realm of employee benefits.

Employees can opt to contribute a small portion from their monthly paycheque to the program, with BigSteelBox matching every donation.

The program is a way for staff members to show one another they care and support each other, particularly in times of need. And it’s a direct example of BigSteelBox’s values, one of which is “We love our family.”

The idea for the program came from an employee in 2015 who had read about a similar idea about how to create an outstanding company culture.

Some companies create traditions like pizza days or have ping-pong tables in the break room. The staff members at BigSteelBox decided an employee benevolent fund would be much more meaningful and beneficial, and would help their colleagues in a more impactful way.

The program works in two scenarios:

•Temporarily support people in paying necessary expenses that, due to financial constraints or circumstances beyond their control, they are unable to pay. This includes expenses such as rent, bills, car insurance or children’s items.

•To help people pay for expenses that have come about suddenly or unexpectedly, are very costly and beyond the employee’s means. This includes costs that arise after the death of a family member or are associated with unforeseen health issues.

The staff at BigSteelBox have always felt strongly about supporting each other, particularly through hard times.

The Care Forward Program provides us with a formal process to do just that.

At the end of Richard’s terrible day, he was told he had been nominated to be a recipient of the Care Forward Program.

He was presented with a cheque for $1,500 to put towards the cost of purchasing a new vehicle.

Benefiting from support

Since the program’s inception two-and-a-half years ago, numerous BigSteelBox employees from across Canada have opted to take part in the program, and many have benefitted from it.

To date, $16,700 has been distributed to employees in need.

While employees can request help from the Care Forward Committee in confidence, it’s often their peers who are responsible for nominating them to receive the funds.

This act of nominating one another demonstrates how much staff members care about their colleagues’ well-being and happiness.

To this day, Richard still reflects upon what an honour it was to be the recipient of such a selfless act of compassion when he was in need.

He always says that working for a company that genuinely cares about him makes all the difference when it comes to putting in a hard day’s work.

BigSteelBox isn’t just a workplace where employees come to clock in and clock out. We are a family.

And what makes employees strive to go the extra mile is they know we are here for them in the times that matter most.

Peter Tonkin is an HR manager at BigSteelBox, a mobile storage provider in shipping containers based in Kelowna, B.C. For more information, visit www.bigsteelbox.com.

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