Social Good: Facilisgroup Keeps Community Engaged
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the economy, its effects are felt in almost all aspects of life. In April, 20.5 million jobs were lost in the U.S. and the unemployment rate soared to 14.7 percent—both record numbers, according to USA Today. With so many people out of work, many were left wondering where their next meal will come from, what to do about work and how they will support their families—a concern that moved Facilisgroup to help.
Facilisgroup, with offices in St. Louis, Missouri, and Ottawa, Ontario, provides a software-as-a-service-based (SaaS) platform for promotional products distributors, and is actively working to support the promotional products industry through philanthropic involvement, virtual events and social media aimed at fostering a feeling of togetherness. “Our efforts have been centered around providing support and shared knowledge as our partners navigate their way through this difficult situation,” says Stacy Price, director of marketing.
Locally, Facilisgroup partnered with Numana, an El Dorado, Kansas-based nonprofit and international hunger relief organization, to fund its effort to package and distribute meals to people in need during the coronavirus pandemic. In total, Facilisgroup provided more than 1,600 meals to those affected most, including a single mother of three who had recently lost her job, says Price. With Facilisgroup’s help, the woman received 216 meals for her family. The company also partnered with Sharon, Massachusetts-based supplier Charles River Apparel to donate 800 masks to the New York City Food Bank, and partakes in year-round charitable efforts through Facilis Cares, which “has as its mission to bring together and harness the power of the Facilisgroup community to scale efforts and improve life for the underserved and underprivileged,” says Price.
Numana staff members transport packages of food donated by Facilisgroup to help disadvantaged members of the local community amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
To continue fostering a sense of community among its employees, Facilisgroup is hosting weekly videoconferences, along with a virtual happy hour complete with bingo, trivia and other games. “The health and wellness of our employees is job No. 1,” says Ashley McCune, president of Facilisgroup. “And not just physical wellbeing, but also their emotional wellbeing. We are stressing the importance of self-care and human connection. We host weekly meetings that allow all to share how they are feeling, challenges they are facing and to share successes. It has proven to keep our team engaged and has improved overall collaboration.”
Outside of videoconferences, Facilisgroup adds a touch of positivity to social media timelines with #TogetherFromHomeTuesday. Using the hash tag, followers are encouraged to share fun tidbits, from photos of new “co-workers”—pets, roommates, family members and friends—to upbeat, inspiring and positive anecdotes, and to answer thought-provoking questions. “#TogetherFromHomeTuesday was created to focus on the human connection within our community, offering positivity and emotional support during this unprecedented time,” says Price. For example, on Tuesday, April 28, the #TogetherFromHomeTuesday post read, “What word(s) come to mind when you think of the past 30 days?” Facilisgroup employees answered “community,” “innovating,” “hidden blessings,” “family,” “faith,” “out of stock” and “Zoom.”
In support of the industry, Facilisgroup planned something entirely new this year. Rebound-20, a virtual event held May 19 through June 12, was designed to inform and motivate the company’s distributor partners as they restructure their plans for the duration of the year. The event consisted of a series of virtual townhalls and educational sessions focused on identifying new opportunities, navigating through challenges and developing strategies for success. The tech-based event featured a roster of speakers, including company leaders Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI; David Nicholson, president of Polyconcept North America; Jeremy Lott, owner and president of SanMar; CJ Schmidt, president of Hit Promotional Products; Chris Anderson, president of HUB Promotional Group, and Jonathan Isaacson, chairman and CEO of Gemline, with a special appearance by John O’Leary, renowned speaker and author of the best-seller ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life.
“No one could have prepared for the challenges and tough decisions that have become part of the new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” McCune says, explaining the drive behind Rebound-20. “All industries have been impacted, some more than others, and the promotional products industry is no exception. But despite the disruption, many Facilisgroup distributor partners have quickly pivoted their business to adjust to a new normal. And our community has leaned in and relied on each other for advice. Shared knowledge has always been a key benefit of the Facilisgroup community. Rebound-20 takes that to a whole new level.”
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.