Before joining Sensibill, I worked in the non-profit industry and I still remember the doubts I had when I made the switch: Was I was selling out my ideals to join a shiny, exciting startup? My fears, it turned out, were unfounded. As I’ve learned at Sensibill, strong corporate social responsibility isn’t defined by the industry you’re in—it’s defined by a culture that empowers employees to give back.
Let’s talk #PIE
If you spend any time on Sensibill’s careers page, you’ll come across the term “PIE”. And we’re talking about a lot more than just dessert. PIE stands for Passion, Integrity, and Excellence—the values that have shaped the company since Day 1.
How does corporate social responsibility fit into the picture? Ultimately these values are about acting for good, bettering our community, and using Sensibill as a vehicle for positive change. It’s the approach that we take when we build our product, and the approach that guides our company culture as well. Volunteering is a way to take the energy and ambition that we bring to our jobs, and channel it towards our community.
Sensibill has always had a strong values system, but over the last few months, we’ve worked on really defining what our goals are and what an effective program looks like to us. So, without further ado, I’m proud to present our official corporate social responsibility program: #Responsibill.
What does it mean to be #Responsibill?
1. Put your equity where your mouth is
Back when Sensibill began, it was one of the first companies to partner with the Upside Foundation. Through the foundation, early stage startups can pledge equity to organizations of their choice. Sensibill chose the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital. This means that whenever Sensibill has a liquidity event, CAMH will also get a cut.
2. Be the change
We chose to focus the program on mental health, which means encouraging workplace wellness here at Sensibill, too. Aside from a benefits plan with a generous paramedical package that can be used for counselling or therapy, some of our other perks include healthy office snacks, in-office massage days, and a fitness and activity benefit. Sensibillians are also encouraged to use their sick/personal days however they need them, without having to justify themselves.
All of this is great, but it’s also important to know that this is just the beginning. We’re reviewing our policies and exploring other workplace wellness initiatives for the future.
3. Make it official
We’ve had food drives, clothing drives, and entered teams in charity sports events. Once, when a delivery mistake meant we landed way more produce than we needed, it was an obvious choice to bring it to a nearby food bank. But with #Responsibill, we wanted to take our volunteering further.
Our contribution to CAMH was the perfect opportunity to introduce regular volunteer days through their corporate volunteer program. We had our first official volunteer day on February 8, with 10 Sensibillians joining patients from CAMH’s Addiction and Complex Care and Recovery Program to play badminton and floor hockey.
The experience was a huge success, both for the Sensibill employees and the CAMH clients. Playing sports together is such a simple thing, but as we learned at CAMH, the effects it can have to re-integrate stigmatized populations and give them a sense of belonging are incredible.
“The connection and camaraderie that comes from battling it out as teammates in the gym is immeasurable but lasting. Nothing works better at reducing stigma and isolation than creating opportunities for our clients to feel a sense of belonging with the broader community.”– David Lucas, DTC Addiction Therapist
Building out #Responsibill has been more impactful to Sensibill than we could have anticipated. Creating the program collaboratively and taking part in volunteering opportunities together has built cross-team bonds and stronger relationships. It’s also allowed us to have tough conversations about mental health and the responsibilities we have to our employees and our community.
So, what’s next? We’ll be adding to the program in the coming year. We’re investigating other ways to volunteer and give back, as well as opportunities to support mental wellness in the office. At its core, #Responsibill isn’t just a one-time program, it’s a mindset. We’re looking forward to growing together.
“The time we spent together with the volunteers is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. During that moment I was the regular old Sal, not Sal with a mental illness.”– Sal, CAMH patient
Sensibill organized the Mind Over Grind 5K to raise awareness about mental health and raise money for CAMH. Learn more here.
Want a workplace where you can make your mark and leave a legacy? Check out our Careers Page to learn how you can join the team.
Header image created using Creative Common assets from Pablo Stanley.