Building culture: Are you making employee engagement harder than it has to be?

Reinforcing prosocial behaviors is a surprisingly easy way to jumpstart your authentic employer brand.

With Gallup reporting that 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged, and with social consciousness on the rise across all workforce generations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of connecting the dots between employee wellbeing and community engagement. It might surprise you, though, to discover that it’s not as hard as you think, especially if you are armed with the right tools. What’s more, the effort is well worth it. Creating a streamlined, cost-effective employee wellness + community engagement program delivers an immediate boost to workplace morale.

Here are three strategies to help you get started.

Elevate the conversation from giving and volunteering to employee wellbeing

Encourage employees to express and celebrate the many ways “doing good” is part of their lives, at home and in the workplace.

Certainly giving and volunteering are key components of most community engagement programs. But focusing on these activities alone, and ignoring the big picture, could feel mechanical and cold to many employees. Our research indicates that you will actually increase the amount of money your employees give through your program if you consistently demonstrate that you, the employer, have a genuine interest in hearing employees’ perspectives about social impact.

So, instead of zeroing in on the transactional calls-to-action of giving money, volunteering hours, and showing up to participate in related activities, try launching a more holistic approach by helping employees celebrate all the ways they do good as part of their healthy, well-rounded lives, including:

  • Recycling and respecting the environment

  • Serving on boards

  • Purchasing products that support a cause

  • Celebrating at community events

  • Sharing with friends and colleagues who need help

  • Marketing favorite causes

  • Donating food, clothing and necessities

  • Caring for health and wellness

And of course . . .

  • Giving to charitable organizations

  • Volunteering for charities

Break through employer brand dissonance to avoid a “cram down”

“Social impact culture type” helps you sharpen your communications to better inspire and motivate employees to take action.

Most high-growth companies sponsor community engagement programs to do good in their communities and engage employees. But not all programs work as planned. Why? Frequently it’s because the programs promote corporate social responsibility and "purpose" from the top down, promoting the company’s signature programs but failing to adequately recognize and affirm the good their own employees are doing both inside and outside of the workplace.

Every person has a “social impact personality type,” and the aggregate of all employees’ types makes up a company’s “social impact culture.” Understanding the predominant type or types within your workforce will allow you to tweak your corporate program, even just ever so slightly, to better align with how your employees view “doing good” as part of their lives at work and at home.

Here’s the best part. Armed with social impact culture type information, you will be able to communicate your program so much more effectively because you can use words and graphics that resonate with each social impact personality type. Quite frequently, adjusting communication based on psychographic prosocial behavior data is all you need to do to dramatically increase participation in workplace giving campaigns or matching gifts programs.

Understand your employees’ social impact culture mindset—and boom—watch the dollars flow into your program and out into the community to support worthwhile causes.

Tailor measurement to your company’s needs

Pick your own data points, based on your goals for retention, productivity, and recruiting.

What’s your goal for your employer brand? That’s the question to ask when you’re figuring out how to measure the success of your community engagement and employee wellbeing programs. Not all companies are the same. Here are just a few examples of where our Employee Vitals team has seen social impact culture type play a critical role in achieving corporate goals:

  • A multinational corporation that needed to demonstrate an increase in both community impact and employee engagement in its corporate philanthropy program

  • A company with a culture strained by one merger after another

  • A SaaS company that needed to triple its sales pipeline

  • A technology firm fighting for a competitive recruiting edge in a noisy market

  • Accountants whose civic engagement efforts were making clients feel empty despite the firm’s warm-hearted efforts

  • A healthcare services enterprise struggling to connect offices across the country

  • A software company tackling a quantum leap forward in a brand based on purpose and belonging

Measuring the impact and success of your community efforts and employee engagement is critical when you want to achieve your enterprise goals--and hitting your goals is much easier to do when you understand your company’s social impact culture type.