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Purpose Hero Marissa O’Rourke - ServiceNow

Marissa O’Rourke

Manager of Global Impact
ServiceNow
ServiceNow
United States

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  • sustainability
  • volunteering
  • employee engagement

Purpose hero

ServiceNow is a software company based in Santa Clara, California. Their cloud-computing platform helps companies manage digital workflows so they can find smarter, faster and better ways to work.

Before joining ServiceNow, Marissa O’Rourke handled the PR, marketing and community relations for a professional soccer team. Today, as Manager of Global Impact at ServiceNow, Marissa oversees employee giving and volunteering, as well as social investments. She was one of the first hires on their Global Impact team, and she has helped build their community engagement and environmental, social and governance (ESGstrategies.

Purpose program

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ServiceNow spent the first couple of years of their community engagement and ESG journey refining their approach. This involved learning what resonated with their employees and communities, while figuring out how their organization could make a unique difference. 

In 2021, they rolled out their ESG strategy with a focus on decarbonization, digital readiness, disaster response and racial equity. These areas of focus influence how they invest with their grantmaking, as well as how they engage with employees and stakeholders. When it comes to employee volunteerism, ServiceNow highlights these focus areas, but they also make sure their people feel empowered to volunteer where they’re most passionate.

Marissa explained: “We say we’re a purpose-driven company. So, when we face times of uncertainty, I feel that’s really an opportunity to prove we’re a purpose-driven company. Based on market and employee feedback and the way the culture of work has shifted, we’ve heard what we need to do to retain employees and really lean into our employees’ well-being.”

Make ESG a business imperative

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The Global Impact team at ServiceNow originally started in the Marketing and Communications department, but in 2020 they reorganized into Finance, which allowed them to align better with ESG opportunities. They have a dotted line connection to their Environmental Sustainability team, which oversees workplace services, and they contribute to the company’s governance work, which builds trust with their stakeholders.

Their team doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Having their leaders and employees truly believe ESG is a business imperative — that also benefits their people — has allowed ServiceNow to be successful and increase momentum over the past couple of years.  

ESG is something our stakeholders are asking for. They expect us to be a leader in this space. It’s translated into products that we offer for our customers and partners.

— Marissa O’Rourke, Manager of Global Impact at ServiceNow


Help create social impact in times of need

One Tree Planted_UK

During times of social and economic uncertainty, a CSR program can be the best tool to lift everyone up — including your employees and your communities. Providing your people with a sense of efficacy, connection and impact during hard times is good for them and your employee engagement.

Marissa said: “With social unrest and racial equity issues, we saw a huge movement internally to make a difference. We were able to really lean in to give back during those times, and I think employees were really grateful to have opportunities to channel that energy and to feel like our company was actually making a difference.”

In terms of volunteerism, ServiceNow tripled their employee participation levels in the past year by leaning into virtual volunteering — which was also what their people needed.

We know that employees were craving that connection with their teams, and so we leaned into having team-building virtual volunteer opportunities, leveraging the time employees were already coming together and repurposing it into moments to give back. That drove a lot of our success.

— Marissa O’Rourke, Manager of Global Impact at ServiceNow


Be intentional and team up for more impact

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Marissa feels the most important foundation to a community engagement program is being authentic and intentional in the work you’re doing. ServiceNow taps into the expertise of their employees and the products they offer to make a difference in their key focus areas.

They’ve also become more intentional with their internal stakeholders. For example, their Unified Technology group was planning a global tour to reconnect with teammates and employees. They asked, “How can we level this up and make these moments a way to give back?” The solution was to connect them with one of their nonprofits, and they let them really own the relationship.

We were able to leverage one of our strategic nonprofit partners and create in-person volunteer opportunities at seven out of eight of their locations. We had a huge increase in participation, and employees are still raving about it.

— Marissa O’Rourke, Manager of Global Impact at ServiceNow

Their employees enjoyed volunteering side by side again with their peers. It was a huge success story that ServiceNow hopes to replicate across other functions to advance their ESG journey next year.

Traditionally, organizations might plan a campaign, hope their employees are interested and then cross their fingers that they show up. But if you’re more intentional with your internal relationships, you can be more specific and opportunistic, building on the program and activities you have already developed. Marissa compares building these relationships to doing matchmaking with different functions to be successful.


The impact

ServiceNow has seen an uptick in their program participation over the past two years. They’re grateful to have a culture where employees are naturally inclined to give in times of crisis. In 2020, their employees generously donated and helped raise half a million dollars to support relief efforts during the second wave of COVID-19 that especially affected India.

They’ve also created tools and programs to make it easier to do good. With the widespread adoption of remote work and virtual volunteering, ServiceNow enabled a self-service tool for their managers to browse volunteer opportunities and schedule them when it was convenient for their teams. They made it as “plug and play” as possible to help increase their program’s participation.

Marissa said: “While this was important to employees at all levels of our company, from executive leadership to individual contributors, a lot of people — even the most passionate — don’t know how to prioritize volunteering or make it easy. We wanted them to know we were here to support, so they could easily say, ‘This is what we’re looking for. This is how we can make it happen. All we need to do is get the people there.’”

In 2022, ServiceNow rolled out a new program with in-kind volunteering, imagining how their products could benefit nonprofits and even small businesses. Instead of encouraging their employees to make custom solutions for one nonprofit, their people are now collaborating and thinking of solutions to make a difference for multiple nonprofit organizations. ServiceNow is looking forward to expanding this program and exploring the next level of engagement with their stakeholders.

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