Speaker Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth shared the value in allowing employees to grow as people by sharing their unique passions and skills. He offered objective proof that confirmed our intuitive belief that happier, more engaged employees deliver real bottom line results. With real world examples (65 million in new revenue for Sears!), Chris made it clear that engaging employees and allowing them to pursue their passions pays big dividends.
Volunteering and engaging with the community transforms both employees and organizations. Employees emerge happier, healthier, more creative, more innovative and more responsive to customer/client wants and needs – innovative employees and quality customer service lead to increased business success. Chris shared examples such as the story of eBay where discussion about the need to embrace sustainability on a rudimentary level and eliminate styrofoam cups led to an array of thousands of money-saving solar panels.
The greatest results emerge when employee engagement is about more than simply positive PR or good feelings. As with any sustainability initiative, employee engagement must be tied to the corporate vision. Organizations must resist the urge to adopt simplistic initiatives or to commit the sin of “human capital theft” by claiming credit for hours of employee volunteering that people do on their own time, independent of any real employer support.
Fundamental to any successful sustainability initiative is not only a vision embedded into the corporate psyche but also a scorecard. To assess the value of your employee engagement initiative you must measure inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts. It is through outcomes and impacts that you see if you are truly maximizing the value of your human capital and achieving your corporate vision. Tree planting may be a perfect employee engagement initiative for a sawmill, but for a pharmaceutical firm, planting trees neither aligns with the corporate reality nor does it harness specialized employee skill sets – as Chris would say, “It’s good, but not good enough.”
When done correctly, an employee engagement initiative will reap positive personal and professional rewards. And with effective use of social media, your CSR commitment will be shared both within and far beyond your organization. Social media extends human relationships, and with a focus on strategic alignment and consistent messaging your employees will grow your initiatives and continue them into the future, ensuring greater corporate profitability.
Chris can help your organization move from good intentions to real results with effective use of social media and volunteering. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (www.realizedworth.com).
Editor: Brad Zarnett
Founder and Director, Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series
Senior Sustainability Consultant, Watters Environmental
Contributing Writers: Julia Barnes and Adina Kaufman