By Jewell Willett, Senior Account Manager
It’s easy to get emotional when you read about an insurance company that sponsors an employee engagement program for child bereavement. Or to feel inspired about a financial company teaching financial literacy to young business professionals in a developing nation. There are so many employer-sponsored programs that align with corporate business goals but are they successful without the support of employees? The answer is: No.
It could be said that if you expect your program to thrive, you should be focusing on employee engagement as the driving force behind it. If this idea disrupts your normal approach to planning, take some time to read these thoughts on the importance of employee engagement.
To Engage Employees is to Listen
Each stage of a program’s lifecycle can bring a new opportunity to listen to your employees. The messages they send through face-to-face interaction and data can impact how you build, launch, maintain and change your program through the years. At our recent client conference we heard this point come up in a few different ways, but Jenn Friday-Jones of Global Employee Engagement at Dell said it best when she told our clients, ‘Without your ear to the ground, you are walking with no direction of what truly matters to the employee.’
An ‘ear to the ground’ can mean many things, so as you plan for your program consider:
• What personal connections are employees making to your corporate business goals, and what purpose do they see in how the program or goal impacts their local community?
• Are you looking at your data to see which local charities and volunteer activities drive the most participation?
• Do they need to be educated in advance with specific materials?
• Should you be offering incentives for participation?
• Consider that employees need variety. To drive engagement focus on getting your timing right.
Know Your Assets
There are two ways that our most successful client programs have maintained a dialogue with employees: survey and use local office support.
The client programs that are consistent and drive increasing engagement year after year are completing yearly surveys that focus on the program, the impact, and the technology being used to initiate participation. Clients are getting honest answers that drive tangible improvements.
Likewise, these successful programs have a network of coordinators at the corporate and local office levels. Call them Ambassadors or Champions, but as Jenn says, “They are your co-pilots in driving engagement. Developing that relationship allows you to know what makes them (employees) tick and therefore know what will make your program excel.”
To Change is to Succeed
The best way to modify, or even revolutionize, is to see what trends are motivating the feedback from your employees. We recently identified some trends that are causing employees to seek change in their employer programs. Take a look and see if your program is being impacted by these trends:
Impact is driving everything. Not just what I am giving, but where is that going and what is it really doing?
Directly related to creating impact, employees are seeking to support programs in different ways for reason’s other than ‘checking a box’. For example: An employee is interested in using their skills to make an impact.
As technology changes, employees want to engage with programs differently. For example: From a volunteer event, an employee may want to check-in and share that with friends on social media, and give directly from their phone all at the same time.
Employer programs can provide consistency, build a positive company culture, and cultivate new employees. Take these thoughts and rally your employees for the benefit and growth of your program’s future.
YourCause, LLC is a Dallas, TX based Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provider of the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform (“CSRconnect”) and the Orange Leap Donor Management Platform, two fully hosted and managed solutions for employees and non-profits to more effectively deploy and mange their philanthropic, volunteering, sustainability, employee engagement, and overall donor relations programs. Ranked #927 on the 2015 Inc. 5000 list, and #11 for best places to work in Dallas, YourCause is rapidly expanding its operation through the ongoing deployment of end-to-end solutions for enterprises, non-profits, and general users. YourCause’s ongoing commitment to never taking a portion of any donation transacted within the platform allows the company to deliver maximum support to the more than 80,000+ non-profits actively engaging with YourCause.
To learn more about CSRconnect and YourCause visit: http://www.csrconnect.me