Engaging Employees through Impact Initiatives
With more companies working remotely, taking an intentional approach to engaging employees has become even more important to keep teams motivated and connected. At Parkes Philanthropy, we’ve seen how launching impact initiatives can be an effective way to engage employees and deepen their connection to your company’s mission and purpose. Whether you’re just starting a company volunteer program or are figuring how you can turn your company’s impact program into a virtual experience (WeHero can help with that!), these tips will help ensure your impact initiatives also support your employee engagement goals.
- Bring employees into the process. There are a variety of ways to make this happen. Are you a larger organization that has established employee interest groups? Connect with any that may already have an interest in launching an initiative to see how the company could offer support — the program will be stronger if it already has internal buy-in. Are you a smaller team? Survey your employees to see what causes they are passionate about and how they envision your company offering support (their ideas might surprise you!). Either way, bringing employees into the fold before you launch the initiative helps build enthusiasm and create alignment with your employee engagement goals.
- Pick an aligned partner. Just as you want to engage employees in the process of determining the type of initiative, bring employees in when identifying your impact partner for the initiative. Your employees may sit on nonprofit boards or actively volunteer with an organization in their free time. Ask them for suggestions of organizations that they’d like to see your company work with, and why. This is the perfect opportunity to empower employees to showcase some of these passions and share them with other team members while building camaraderie.
- Remember the purpose. When planning the logistics of employee engagement initiatives, it can be easy to get lost in the details — but remember to keep the impact and purpose at the center in communications with your employees. Let your team know about the initiative and its importance, why you chose this partner organization, and how it connects to your company mission and values. This initiative should be shared as a natural extension of who you are as a brand, enabling employees to experience putting the company values in action.
- Don’t forget the follow-up. Follow up with employees after the initiative or event is over! That’s the only way you’ll be able to gauge how effective this was in meeting your employee engagement goals. For a more formal review, a pre and post-event survey where employees can rank how they feel about their work, teams, and the company can help gauge against benchmarks. For a more anecdotal process, set up a follow-up meeting for employees who joined the initiative to talk about how it went, what they enjoyed, and what they’d like to see for the future.
Caitlin Kawaguchi is an impact strategist and consultant with Parkes Philanthropy. Over the last seven years, she’s worked with non-profits, advocacy organizations, and brands to build cross-sector partnerships that create shared value and drive impact. She co-led the flagship CSR program for one of the Big Four accounting firms, has coordinated impact activations for Fortune 500 companies and advises on digital strategy for organizations advancing equality and expanding opportunity.