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Walking shoes
By
Deanna Neiers
Photo Credit
Ameriprise

Employee engagement is defined as the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organization. In today’s workplace, over half of American workers are not engaged. This is a serious problem for companies, as disengaged employees lower productivity levels at a cost of $450 billion to $550 billion annually. 

How can an organization make their employees feel happy, engaged and valued? When individuals feel deeply connected to their company’s giving and volunteering efforts, employee turnover drops significantly. In fact, 85% of employees say that an organization’s level of social responsibility would positively impact their decision to stay longer.

Workplace giving programs offer employees the chance to give to the causes they love, and help them feel more connected to their company. With over 60 years of experience in employee engagement and corporate social responsibility, Global Impact has helped partners enhance their giving programs with access to an alliance of more than 100 leading international charity partners, as well as campaign resources and training.

Ameriprise, a Global Impact campaign partner, elevated their program through the use of compelling content, taking a more holistic approach to engagement and encouraging a team mentality through their “Walk With Purpose” challenge.  This month-long program preceded their traditional giving campaign, and allowed employees to join a team that supported their cause of choice (environment, health, hunger, international or social services).  Employees then competed as a team to earn money for the cause based on total team steps taken during the challenge period. 

In order to engage employees, it is essential that companies innovate and respond to the ever changing workplace, and Ameriprise’s “Walk with Purpose” challenge is a standout example. These three elements from their approach can translate across all workplaces, enhancing giving campaigns and improving overall engagement by increasing the connection employees feel to the program and its results.

  1. Use compelling content. Core to effective marketing is the ability to tell a story. From videos and photos to charity stories and impact statistics, there are a variety of interesting and engaging ways to communicate the potential impact of an employee giving program and connect employees to a company’s philanthropic endeavors.

    Visuals

    • Charities have collections of photos and videos that help tell stories of the people they help
    • Companies can use for an internal campaign or external content
    • Utilize in social media posts and website banners, visuals in an annual report, posters around the office, desk drop cards and more

    Impact Statements

    • Dollar buy statements are a great way to show the impact of a donation
    • Helps donors feel connected to the cause or person receiving their support
    • Example dollar buy statements include:
       
      • $15 gives a backpack filled with school supplies to a child who has been affected by a disaster.
      • $100 pays for a psychologist to work with 80 refugee children in Serbia. 


    Ameriprise utilized each of these content types in their internal communications and as a central focus in the “Walk With Purpose” challenge. This encouraged and incentivized employees to interact with a cause they care about and participate in the challenge. Presenting employees with compelling content and impactful stories lets the cause speak for itself and inspires them to take action. 

    Reach out to us! Global Impact can help develop a custom content package that can be used to support a communications plan.

  2. Take a holistic approach. Incorporate within your employee giving program other topics that are important to employees but may not have a direct connection to giving, such as wellness. Ameriprise recognized the need for engagement opportunities to blend personal and professional lives and offer ease of participation. Employees are balancing work, family, health and community demands, which can limit their ability to participate in engagement and wellness activities. So, they combined the two. Ameriprise launched their “Walk with Purpose” challenge in 2018, with a goal of engaging employees to improve their own well-being while also supporting a good cause. Ameriprise said that “the ‘Walk With Purpose’ challenge simplified the engagement ask, emphasizing that one can do good for both the body and community without significant added time or effort.” 

    Global Impact worked closely with Ameriprise to provide content for the international cause option, including facts such as: 

    • 10,000 steps (roughly 3.7 miles) is the average amount walked by people in the developing world to meet their daily water needs for cooking, drinking, bathing and overall hygiene. 
    • African women carry up to 44 pounds of water on their heads in a 20-liter jerry can.


    Statistics like these really help the employee connect to the cause, which in turn increases participation.  
    The challenge generated great results in its inaugural year. During this two-month challenge, 1,043 employees participated, logging nearly 105 million steps. That’s almost 35,000 miles! Plans are already underway to host another “Walk With Purpose” challenge in October 2019.

  3. Encourage a team mentality. Working together as a team helps employees feel proud of their contributions and collective impact. Giving just a few dollars from each paycheck may not seem to have a large impact, but when donations from all employees are combined, it is encouraging to see what a difference can be made. Working together toward achieving campaign goals helps employees feel connected to the company, builds loyalty and leads to a higher level of job satisfaction.

    Ameriprise’s “Walk with Purpose” challenge is a fantastic example of utilizing a team mentality. Employees joined the challenge by choosing which team they wanted to be a part of, and then they competed together to become the group with the largest number of steps. The group dynamic fostered healthy competition and camaraderie, all while generating funds for their favorite cause area.

    By integrating employee giving and engagement with other CSR and HR functions, there is a greater opportunity for employees to feel engaged and compelled by a group of their peers. Adding a peer-to-peer component to a program is one of the most effective ways to boost participation. The Ameriprise teams offered a new way for employees to connect, encourage each other and reach a goal. 

    It is important to meet employees where they are and where they have found a community within the workplace. Outside of wellness, think about these other areas of a workplace that could be used to encourage a team mentality: diversity and inclusion groups, branch offices and departments within an office location. 

These tips can be adapted to any workplace environment. When working with partners, Global Impact utilizes these strategies to elevate an employee giving program and help employees feel more connected at work.
 
We want to hear from you! Share how your company has embraced these tips, or reach out if you are interested in partnering with Global Impact to implement these practices. Email our team at [email protected].

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Tags
Employee giving
Ameriprise
CSR
corporate social responsibility
philanthropy

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