It’s 2019. By now we all know that the modern workforce is socially aware and wants to make an impact. And we know that they hope their employers will help them connect positively with their local and global communities as well as with the planet.
Trends suggest that top-down models of employees being “volun-told” to give back at a singular “day of service”, or having a sliver of a paycheck diverted to an opaque corporate giving fund, are part of an increasingly bygone era. What wellness and engagement professionals now strive to do is to make giving back an employee driven experience, woven into the day-to-day corporate fabric.
But there still remains a lot of head-scratching at how, exactly, to bring social initiatives down to the level of the individual. Part of the problem is that professionals have been slow to view what we like to call the “caring potential” of each employee as a resource. The real question is how to wield that resource for maximum impact, which itself will drive the engagement and the sense of prosocial positivity that employers want to create.
One of the clearest ways to achieve this is to facilitate and reward positive behaviors, many of which employees already do. Take the case of PayPal, where employees can participate in goodness missions: gamified, bite-sized activities - like riding a bike to work or turning off lights - that are tracked, measured, and rewarded. By recognizing the small actions that employees regularly perform, PayPal ensures a more meaningful working experience, and builds on each employees existing willingness to do good.
Another often overlooked resource are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These employee-led affinity groups convene colleagues who share common interests, backgrounds, or demographic factors like gender or ethnicity. Many companies do have sustainability ERGs, or a volunteers ERG. But this misses the latent caring potential within the ERGs that might not specifically identify as impact oriented. Why not give your Women’s Leadership ERG skills-based volunteering opportunities at a local nonprofit that helps young mothers? Connect your Diversity ERGs with mentoring opportunities at charities that serve their respective demographics. The combination of talent and passion residing within each ERG is a recipe for powerful and lasting impact.
Donii works by making caring a physical feature of the corporate space. A Donii kiosk in the lobby or cafeteria signals that goodness can be generated right from the workplace. By addressing a pain point most of us already have - a glut of stuff - in an impactful way, we unlock a treasure trove of caring that employees may not have realized they had access to. And by giving them the option of which charity to give to, we put them in the driver’s seat of the impact they create.
Viewing your employees' desire for creating impact as a resource rather than a riddle is the first step on an enriching journey of engagement and wellness. We think the best time to start the journey is now!