KnowBe4, a security awareness training and simulated phishing platform provider, is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the addition of its 1,000th employee by planting 10,000 trees. That’s a multiplier for good that will have some deep roots.
KnowBe4 is donating the money for the tree planting to the environmental charity One Tree Planted, which has a mission of helping global reforestation efforts. The trees will be dispersed across four countries: Indonesia, Australia, Kenya, and the U.S. These areas were chosen due to the need for trees based on wildfires and other environmental threats.
Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4, says the company surveyed its employees on the best way to mark the achievement during the current global pandemic, and the tree planting received an enthusiastic thumbs up when they voted on the idea. “We loved it—10 years, a thousand employees, 10,000 trees, beautiful numbers,” says Sjouwerma, noting that it dovetails nicely with KnowBe4’s efforts to be environmentally conscious. “We are already pretty green. It's just reinforces [our effort] that, yes, you can train people without killing trees.”
Sjouwerman says KnowBe4 likes to consider itself “the Netflix of security readiness training,” with movie-production-quality online training modules and 25 million users. The only thing that ever gets printed, he says, is if a user wants a certificate of completion. “Taking care of our planet is super important. So we feel we're making a good contribution to … stewardship of this little blue marble that we're on.”
In addition to thinking globally, KnowBe4 channels its charitable efforts locally too, with the company and its employees participating in at least one new philanthropic activity per month.
“It’s important for us to create the type of work environment where we’re giving back to the community so employees, especially millennials who place a high value on what an organization does for its community, really feel a sense of value and pride in working for KnowBe4,” said Erika Lance, KnowBe4’s senior vice president of people operations, in a statement.
That effort clearly hasn’t gone unrecognized. Both Great Place to Work and Fortune recently named KnowBe4 as one of the 2020 Best Workplaces for Millennials.
“There's tons of stuff that we do that they [employees] can participate in,” Sjouwerman says. “There's always something happening. Most of it is local. You’re part of a community. We continue to help build our community.”
For instance, the company has partnered with the Center for Cyber Safety and Education to launch two $10,000 scholarships: the KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity, announced in July; and the KnowBe4 Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship, launched last year.
Other initiatives include donating holiday gifts to the Salvation Army's Angel tree and holding back-to-school donation drives for the local high schools.
Sjouwerman sums up the corporate culture this way: Participating in charitable endeavors is “part of our whole company culture and has been from day one.”
He is quick to point out, however, that his employees are already doing their part to keep the world safer on a daily basis in their work for KnowBe4. “We help organizations stay safe,” he says. “And the additional benefit is we train employees and make them understand the risks currently out there. This translates to them being safe at their house as well.”
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