In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the importance of employee engagement and social good in companies is becoming increasingly apparent. To delve into this topic, we sat down with a panel of change-makers, including industry experts Ben Sampson, founder of WeHero, Tessa Edwards of Edwards Social Impact Consulting, and Alex Budak, instructor at UC Berkeley and co-founder of StartSomeGood. Together, we explored the future of employee engagement and social good in companies, focusing on the essential elements that will shape these initiatives over the next five years.
If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, don’t worry, we’ve curated the key takeaways for you here. We’ll delve into the three key factors that are driving the development, growth, and maintenance of employee engagement in social impact programs. From the growing importance of social impact initiatives within companies to the challenges posed by time constraints and the need for diverse and accessible offerings, we will explore how businesses can navigate these key elements to foster engagement and make a positive impact on their communities.
The importance of social impact programming in businesses is growing among leaders, employees, and customers. Edwards shared that “88% of CEOs agree such initiatives help attract and retain employees.” Demand from customers and employees for companies to not only do good in their communities but also provide ways to be involved will continue to rise.
Cause-driven business models are now commonplace, and the experts agreed that they will become necessary for the future success of organizations. "You have to stand for something, and actions speak louder than words,“ said Budak. “In order to be a relevant and competitive company or organization, you’ve got to stand for something.”
Time is one of the most significant hurdles to a successful impact program—for leadership as well as employees.
It takes time to develop, implement, and manage a comprehensive giving and volunteering program. If your HR team is already stretched thin, it’s wise to consider hiring an impact manager who can focus on CSR programming.
Potential participant employees also have other priorities that consume their time at work and may be wary of committing hours outside of work to volunteerism“Employees are very protective of their time,” said Sampson. “The importance of having multiple ways and formats to engage employees and having the right technology to support these initiatives is increasingly critical. Investingin the right programs allow employees to volunteer, participate, and engage even if they have limited bandwidth and limited time.”
Accessibility is one of the most important components of an engaged workforce. Sampson recommends having programs that support different levels of volunteers, including those that may be “just dipping their toe in the water of volunteering” as well as those who want to be a champion of volunteerism within the organization. Edwards added that skills-based opportunities are an excellent complement to traditional hands-on volunteering and noted that offering a variety of opportunities for people to participate in volunteerism is the best way to engage the most people for the greatest impact.”
The panel also touched on the impact of “micro actions,” with Budak noted the importance of recognizing the collective impact of small, everyday actions, as well as larger initiatives like Giving Tuesday to get people involved.
Sampson added that “giving people opportunities to try on [volunteering] and see what it feels like to make an impact tends to have really positive results.” Sampson suggests a mindset shift for CSR that includes bringing opportunities to people where they are at to further engagement. For example, bringing hands-on opportunities like making water filters for a nonprofit during a lunch hour in the break room.“Bring the opportunities to the people and into their day-to-day activities,” said Sampson. Staying open-minded and thinking outside the box in your program design is crucial to facilitating high employee engagement.
Programs for social good are taking center stage in talent acquisition and retention and are of increasing importance for creating brand affinity among customers and investors. Simply put, the design and management of these programs can no longer be an afterthought for organizations that want to remain relevant in the market. The good news is, corporate giving and volunteering has never been more easy or accessable with social impact technology, employees are more passionate than ever, and the public rewards businesses committed to doing good.
Watch the full webinar recording here for more insights on the future of employee engagement and social good.
Or, book a call with one of our social impact experts to learn how you can better engage your employees in social impact.