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Anna Malan

Anna Malan

Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion
Arm
Arm
United Kingdom

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  • corporate social responsibility
  • communication techniques

Anna Malan is the Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm, a leading technology provider of processor IP.

After working in the nonprofit sector and at the University of Cambridge, Anna joined Arm’s Community and Inclusion team in 2018. Today, she runs the global technology company’s employee community engagement programme, Team Arm, which supports colleagues to use their passion, skills and expertise to take action on social and environmental causes.

Her personal purpose?

Anna is determined to leave the world a little better than she found it - whether it’s through her work, personal relationships or community activities. With this broader purpose in mind, she makes a point of connecting with nature through trail running, which offers the draw of energy she needs to recharge and refocus.    

“It’s kind of hard not to look at the world, see its beauty, and not feel some kind of duty of care to protect the planet and the people that live on it.”  

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

Programme mission 

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With over 6,000 employees, Arm is a technology company based in Cambridge, England but with a global reach. The mission of Arm’s employee community engagement programme, Team Arm, aligns with the company’s goal to “drive positive change for people and planet” by being “the architects of technology for tomorrow”.   

Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as guidance, the programme is built on three key pillars: 

Pillar 1: Close the digital divide 

Closing the global social and economic divide will be impossible until everyone has access to the internet and the digital economy. Arm strives to close the existing gap by partnering with organisations like UNICEF to bring the internet to countries across the world. Arm also works with global, national and local organisations committed to promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach in schools.  

Pillar 2: Decarbonise compute 

Like many industries, technology produces a substantial carbon footprint. However, according to the World Economic Forum, a 15% emissions reduction by 2030 is possible with a little fine-tuning and the adoption of more intelligent solutions. To help meet this goal, Arm is leveraging their expertise in low-power compute to do more work per watt, providing a unique opportunity to drive up connectivity while driving down carbon emissions.

Pillar 3: Engage employees 

Arm recognizes that many of its 6,000-plus employees may wish to support causes that fall outside of its two strategic focus areas. To support these initiatives, Arm offers employees half a day per month to volunteer for the cause of their choice. There are also opportunities to campaign and fundraise for causes that may not fall under the first two pillars, like disaster relief and Movember.

Budapest - Microbit 2

“We know about the multitude of ways in which technology can make people’s lives longer and better and more fulfilled. So we’re trying to make sure that we’re extending the benefits of technology to everyone.” 

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

Team Arm: Connecting employees through purpose 

After recognising an increase in employee interest in philanthropic initiatives, Arm made a substantial investment to grow Team Arm in 2016. The company scaled the programme across all of its 50 global offices to better connect with employees and help support the SDGs. To increase the programme’s chances of widespread adoption, Team Arm took a two-pronged approach. 

“The programme started as a fairly grassroots thing - colleagues were organically coming together to make positive change in the world. I love that because it’s a reflection of how passionate our people are. We’re not making them do anything. They’d probably be doing things anyway. Team Arm just makes it easier for them.” 

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

A hybrid model 

To truly embed its sense of purpose into its organisational culture, Arm took both a company-wide and an individual approach. This involved maintaining a strategic focus while allowing employees to fulfill their own purposes. While strategic initiatives help the company make progress towards the SDGs and resolve industry-wide issues that directly impact the organisation - like a shortage of STEM talent or digital inequality - the focus on individuals helps build employee goodwill.  

“People don’t join Team Arm to discover the world of social and environmental impact - our colleagues already have causes that they care deeply about. The way to make them feel most connected to the business in this regard is to say: ‘That’s amazing. We support you.’

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

The company established a network of Team Arm Champions to roll out the programme globally and ensure their initiatives resonate. The volunteers for each office act as the community engagement and volunteering leads.  

Boston crop farming (July 2022)

“Our Team Arm champions are an amazing resource to have because the community issues that matter most to our employees in Cambridge, San Jose, Bangalore or South Korea are completely different. So having those champions is a phenomenal way to both engage our communities and the people who work there.” 

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

Stellar communication 

Inspiring employee action involves keeping everyone informed of the engagement pathways - and causes - available to them. While Team Arm relies on a range of communication tools like Slack and intranet blogs to get the word out, Anna says the Benevity platform has proven to be a game changer. Employees across the world can log in to this central hub to learn about current volunteering, charitable giving and campaign opportunities available. 

“Because we make it a priority to be led by our people, this is so important - because it allows us to demonstrate that we recognise and honour that they have their own values and passions.” 

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

The Benevity platform allows Arm to give their people a voice - and facilitate two-way communication. For instance, during the Covid-19 pandemic the number of causes employees wanted to support skyrocketed. Recognising this, the company used the Benevity platform to turn on cause-wide matching for a couple of months - something it had never done before - to allow employees to support the causes that meant the most to them.  

“The Benevity platform has been a complete game changer for having a central place we can point people to.”

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

Korea World Hunger Day 19

Results 

Over the years, the programme has evolved tremendously - with incredible results:

  • According to an internal survey of Team Arm volunteers, 88% say the programme has increased their sense of pride in the company.
  • Team Arm used the Micro-Actions module in the Benevity platform to set up a challenge designed to increase awareness and action around the UN SDGs. The campaign saw 1,250 actions over two weeks.  
  • Through their partnership, Arm and UNICEF are working together to bring digital connectivity to every school on Earth. As part of this arrangement, 500+ Arm employees have volunteered to help map parts of the world through a tool called Missing Maps. Thanks to their hard work, the volunteers were able to map out 150 buildings in Makueni County in Kenya — and their efforts supported UNICEF to build a new tool that will use machine learning to identify schools on satellite images. 

“Over time we’ve certainly built this programme into something that people feel connected to, proud of, curious to engage with because it’s an opportunity to build their network beyond [their] direct team.” 

Anna Malan - Senior Manager, Community & Inclusion at Arm

RevOps at Wintercomfort 2 (Nov 2019)

Tips & advice for other companies

  1. Make sure you have buy-in from the top. While financial buy-in is unquestionably essential, it’s also important to make sure your leaders are actively encouraging participation, leading by example and talking about the causes they are personally passionate about. 
  2. Build a culture of community engagement. While directly telling people how to get involved will inspire employee participation, it’s much more effective to show people the first-hand benefits. This can involve inviting a standout volunteer to write an internal blog post, asking them to run a lunch and learn about their favourite experience, introducing a Volunteer of the Month spotlight to your newsletter or launching an awards ceremony to recognise standout volunteers and fundraisers. 
  3. Take a hybrid approach. Strategic goals and supportive NGO partnerships are essential to a strong community engagement programme. However, it’s equally important to make sure your programme leaves room for your employees to pursue their own passions.  

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