92% is a magic number for risk-proofing your employer brand


Employee engagement and workplace culture are all the rage as the talent market tightens up. Recruiting, retention, and productivity are more elusive than ever for fast-growing companies.

There’s certainly no shortage of ideas and products to choose from when it comes to engaging today’s workforce talent. Not only is there no shortage, but some financial experts also say the market for workplace culture tools and technology is overcrowded and even deluged with possible solutions for the forward-thinking human resources buyer.

That’s why it’s important to stop and think carefully about what you are trying to accomplish with your culture and engagement—before you spend a single dollar.

Over the course of several years, our team has heard three things, over and over:

1. “Please, not another typical survey.”

In most companies today, no one—really no one—has the time or tolerance for complex, slow, expensive, or—let’s say it—boring surveys designed to gather routine information about associates’ perceptions of the workplace. Both leadership and talent alike are fatigued and skeptical.

2. “It’s bigger than the job.”

Today’s talent doesn’t just want a paycheck. The entire workplace experience is important. Culture, giving back, family, health, values, fun, personal growth, and inspiration all play a role in career and corporate success. Social impact is the missing view of the talent mindset, and every company needs it.

3. “Show us results!”

Nothing is worse than being asked for your feedback and then having it seemingly disappear into a black hole. People want to see results when they give their perspectives and information. Celebrating, learning, and sharing are critical elements of all workplace data capture initiatives.

We heard you!

By combining work, life, community, and wellness factors into an uplifting diagnostic, the Embolden team created a tool designed to help companies get in touch with their talent’s mindset, in a way that is positively reinforcing, fast, different, and immediately reportable and actionable in terms of the data it delivers.

This diagnostic, called Employee Vitals, actually makes people in the company feel good.

That brings us to the magic number: 92% of the thousands of people who’ve taken Embolden’s 7-minute diagnostic since we launched it in 2012 said it made them feel better.

We think that’s something for everyone to celebrate!

Social impact lifestyle and your wardrobe: More connected than you think

Eva donating clothes

“I’ve got nothing to wear.”

Who hasn’t said that before, even though studies indicate that the average person wears only 20 percent of the clothes in their closet? At the same time as some of our closets are overflowing, millions of other people need assistance with basics like food and clothing. More than 43 million people are living in poverty in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

How can the average person help? In today's social impact culture, it's easy to take on small projects as part of your overall community engagement portfolio. Case in point? Spring cleaning, trimming your closet, and donating a few bags of gently-used clothing to a charity is a popular form of "doing good" in the contemporary application of philanthropy. What's more, donating clothes to people in need isn’t the only good that comes from downsizing and paying more attention to how you build your wardrobe.

Let’s look at the issue.

More than 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased worldwide each year. That is a 400 percent increase from a decade ago! Those are the staggering statistics from True Cost, a 2015 documentary film about the garment industry.

A recent article in the Atlantic, “Where Does Discarded Clothing Go,” offered these data points:

  • In New York City alone, clothing and textiles account for more than 6 percent of all garbage, which translates to 193,000 tons tossed annually.
  • Americans recycle or donate only 15 percent of their used clothing, and the rest—about 10.5 million tons a year—goes into landfills.
  • Only half of donated clothing gets worn again.

The good news here, though, is that much of the portion of donated clothing that actually can be recycled is ground down and re-formed into things like insulation, carpet padding, and industrial rags.

Don’t forget that your clothing donations may be eligible for a tax deduction. The Internal Revenue Service requires that a value be placed on each item. So how do you know what it’s worth? Check out Goodwill Industry International’s suggested valuation of commonly donated items of women’s clothing. For example, tops, shirts, and blouses are valued between $2 -12, T-shirts between $1 - 6, and jeans in a range of $4 - 21.

Many charities also accept donations of cars, large appliances, building materials, office furniture, computers, and electronics. Some charities are even happy to swing by curbside at your house or come to your office to pick up things.

Think outside the box, too. If you’re healthy and up to it, consider donating blood. Nearly 5 million people need a blood transfusion each year, according to the American Red Cross. When you donate blood, you are truly saving lives.

Reviewing your closets, cabinets, and wardrobe with a critical eye and doing good go hand-in-hand. You will feel a lot better about your own social impact by paying closer attention to what you choose to buy. And when you stop loving that top or pair of jeans, make sure to donate it to a charity instead of throwing it in the trash. Donating is good for your community, it's good for the world, and it's good for you.

Radio show archives: A healthy debate about wellness


Wellness and doing good are hot topics in the Live with Rink and Laura radio show archives. One of our most popular shows featured the friendly debate between host Ryan Rink and Dr. Michelle Robin about what it means to stay healthy as work, life, community and wellness converge. Worth a re-listen! Here is the link to the recorded show:


Three simple reasons people (truly) love their jobs


In February 2010, we launched our first pilot project to better understand the work-life-community-mindset, which was just beginning to emerge along with the acceleration of mobile technology and the rising influence of Millennials and GenZ.

This February, we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day by sharing what we’ve learned over the last eight years about why people love their jobs in today’s turbulent and changing culture.

So what are the reasons people truly love their jobs? In the mind of today’s employee, it boils down to three things.

Reason 1: “You get me.”

People who love their jobs are more likely to make comments like this one:

“My company makes a genuine effort to match my job duties and work conditions with my strengths and preferences.”

This means more than just positive reinforcement and real-time feedback for growth. The hundreds of employees interviewed by our team over the years are most delighted when their employers take the time to help them understand themselves, as well as how they are suited for a particular job.  

“Millennials feel underutilized and believe they’re not being developed as leaders.” 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey

Tools like the DiSC and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are useful; however, faster, cheaper alternatives are now available and can work just as well. For example, our next generation workplace culture tools include a diagnostic that can help instantly empower an employer to:   

  1. Offer leadership roles to appeal to employees who are "Accelerators."
  2. Offer socializing opportunities to appeal to "Interactors."
  3. Offer dashboards and giveaway opportunities to appeal to "Enterprisers."

Reason 2: “I’m human.”

People who love their jobs are more likely to make comments like this one:

“My company treats me like a real person.”

The net-net here is that employees want their employers to acknowledge that they have a life outside of work, care about their health and wellness, and enjoy being involved in their communities.

A productive, positive employee experience has emerged as the new contract between employer and employee. Deloitte's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report

Employers can make huge strides by understanding just a few factors about employees’ favorite healthy habits, purchasing preferences, and productivity zones. That’s because these data points in turn allow a company to make small tweaks with big ROI, like these:

  1. Optimize menu options, activities, and timeframes for employee events.
  2. Add low-cost perks to match employee health priorities.
  3. Evaluate office hours based on mix of employee energy levels.  

Reason 3: “Celebrate!”

People who love their jobs are more likely to make comments like this one:

“My company actively celebrates a culture of community.”

Celebrating a social impact culture is frequently cited by company leaders as the “secret sauce” for maintaining high levels of engagement. Wrapped into employers’ branding strategies now more than ever, community engagement has become a key factor for boosting a company’s reputation as a good place to work.

69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment). Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016

Still, there are hundreds of combinations of social impact activities available as part of a single workplace program. Many workplace programs include several of the following options for employee engagement:

  • Giving to charities
  • Volunteering
  • Serving on boards
  • Purchasing products that support a cause
  • Celebrating at community events
  • Recycling
  • Donating food and clothing
  • Marketing favorite causes
  • Sharing with colleagues in need
  • Caring for health and wellness

Understanding the right mix of “ways to do good” based on employee preferences is the key to cost optimization, program participation, and community impact. Here are three disciplines of employers who know how to unlock the “secret sauce” of social impact culture to increase the odds that their employees love their jobs:

  1. Focus community activities the top three preferences.
  2. Reduce activities that are least popular.
  3. Use statistics in recruiting materials to show a culture of engagement.

To help you understand what today’s changing employee mindset means to your company, be sure to seek out fast, simple, and inexpensive tools to gather data and help boost retention, productivity, and recruiting success--without disrupting your company’s programs that are already in place and working well.