Being bold and living our Purpose
H&R Block’s 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report
I’m excited to be sharing H&R Block’s first Corporate Responsibility (CR) annual report. It’s our self-evaluation of how well we’re living out our Purpose through our work in our communities, as we strive to build a culture of belonging and through an ethical approach to our business operations.
The report addresses the areas where we play an important role in society, whether through our community impact platform, Make Every Block Better or our commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging via our H&R Block Belonging@Block initiative. It also highlights our Equality Action Plan where we pledge to do our part to see the change we want to see in our communities and end systemic racism. We want our stakeholders to understand the role we play in our communities and how we’re thoughtfully addressing corporate social responsibility issues – from business ethics to operational sustainability practices.
Make Every Block Better
In December 2019, we launched our new community impact platform, Make Every Block Better. We believe communities are more vibrant when neighbors connect with one another and small businesses thrive. That’s why we’ve pledged millions of dollars over the next five years towards both areas. We’re engaging our associates and working with national partners to improve our neighborhoods and foster connections within communities across America.
Belonging and Equality for All
Just as important is the work we’re doing to help our own associates as we build a culture where everyone feels like they have a voice and they belong. Since May, our associates have shared their personal experiences with racism, their own fears and worries and ideas about what we could do as a company to stop racism. It’s been a powerful experience and resulted in actions that begin our journey towards increased equality and belonging. And while we are living during an important time in history, this is more than a moment – it’s a movement – and I believe it is up to every person, company, community and government to do their part to end systemic racism once and for all.
Resilience through the Pandemic
I’ve also seen our business, and our tax professionals, pivot quickly in ways that we may never have thought possible. The response and resiliency of our H&R Block associates, franchisees and franchise employees has been amazing as we pivoted many aspects of our business model – almost literally overnight. We provided free virtual tax prep to frontline workers, and we were one of the first in the nation to offer a stimulus payment calculator on our website. We launched a COVID-19 Resource Hub for small business owners. We joined the Stand for Small coalition, launched by American Express. We provided information and answered questions small business owners have about the Paycheck Protection Program while helping them navigate the CARES Act stimulus options with our Recovery Action Plan service.
Throughout the pandemic, it wasn’t just our clients that we kept top-of-mind. Our own people’s well-being has been very important to us. That’s why we implemented an absence policy for all 70,000 seasonal associates that provided new paid benefits and flexibility during the peak of the pandemic. We implemented new procedures and protocols to keep our associates and clients safe during the tax season. And we created a new Associate Relief Fund to help our own people who may be experiencing personal hardships or trying to recover from the COVID-19 disaster.
All of these efforts, and others, are why I continue to be so hopeful for the future of our company, our country and our world. The resiliency we have demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, will serve all of us well as we take on the challenges of tomorrow.
It’s my hope that these actions, and all of the information in this CR report, paint a picture of how we strive to live out our Purpose and operate as a responsible company. But perhaps more importantly, I hope this serves to create more important conversations and inspire even more of you to join us in action.
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