Coming into her first Hearts a Bloomin’ event, VP of Corporate Culture and Philanthropy at Neiman Marcus Group, Mimi Sterling, knew that the corporation had high expectations for their month of volunteerism and the employees engaged. She had goals to expand the program, its participation and the impact made within the communities but knew, it would require multiple facets of collaboration and employee involvement to achieve the success she and the executive team were looking for.
Train and Excite
Mimi was bringing fresh eyes to the role and strategy of the Hearts a Bloomin’ campaign. As a tenured employee, she has had years of experience working at Neiman Marcus Group and with the volunteer programs. Now taking the step into leading this CSR Team of one, she leaned upon multiple departments and associates to strategize, communicate, and ultimately conduct the month of volunteerism.
Her biggest allies came from her local community leaders (internal volunteers who help run the corporate programs locally), who she meets with regularly to communicate strategies, upcoming campaigns, and program goals. These ambassadors raise awareness of the CSR programs by creating and helping get people excited about local events in their home offices and work to engage the more than 14,000 Neiman Marcus employees around the world.
Ignite and Communicate
In Neiman Marcus Groups’ CSR programs, everything revolves around the Heart of Neiman Marcus; the love for their communities. Communicating the Hearts a Bloomin’ campaign was heavily visually driven, showing mosaics of team members doing projects throughout the communities and their hearts growing a little bit bigger.
Along with the creative visuals distributed, Mimi developed a robust communications plan. She started by training communications leaders in fellow departments about the program overview and goals, teaching them how to be brand ambassadors and giving them examples of creative approaches taken by other representatives. As an organization with many different types of employees, Mimi strived to communicate to her ambassadors and leaders that regardless of how much time and energy an employee can give, letting them know that any bit helps is most important.
Because of the vast and various roles at Neiman Marcus Group, it was imperative that Mimi, her local community leaders, and the Hearts a Bloomin’ campaign as a whole made it easy and engaging for employees to be a part of the volunteerism month. As the case in many organizations, some employees worked hourly and did not have the option to leave the site that they worked into volunteer. Other employees didn’t have VTO (volunteer time off), meaning it was completely up to them on personal time to engage in Neiman Marcus’ CSR programs.
It was these setbacks that founded their phrase for the campaign, “give your time, talent or treasure”. It was on Mimi and local community leaders to communicate, foster, and then implement ideas of ways to give back so that all employees could feel as though they were contributing to their communities.
Momentum and Impact
As the month began, it was evident that each of the community leaders had taken Mimi’s words to heart, showing their love for their communities in a plethora of ways. Leaders had brought projects for in-store associates to volunteer during their breaks, like crafting wine charms to be auctioned for nonprofits or making handmade greeting cards for children at the local hospitals.
One store even held a bake sale on the floor, raising money to help fight the disease one of their colleagues was battling. That weekend, they all walked together in a 5K for the nonprofit they had raised money for from their bake sale.
Members of the corporate office formed their own groups and took turns creating and leading volunteer events throughout the days of June, engaging small teams around their communities.
Following the Month of Volunteerism, multiple employees from the corporate office organized a committee that creates service projects every month for employees to attend together. Not only has this provided a new community for employees within Neiman Marcus Group to volunteer together, but it also has created leadership roles that give employees the opportunity to take ownership of engagement and culture.
One of Neiman Marcus Group’s values is to be “All Heart”, which means to give heart and soul to the community. This June was the most successful month yet of Corporate Social Engagement, and learnings from this summer’s activities will be put to work to make next June engaging for an even broader associate group.
Learn more about Neiman Marcus Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs and what they are doing to make the world a better place.