To Engage Employees, Connect Emotionally

manifest-employee-engagement-final-copyWe all know that corporate volunteering is good for communities, good for companies and good for employees.

But how can we better engage employees?

To get to some answers, our friends at Manifest hosted a focus group of some of Canada’s leading corporate citizens to explore current volunteer models – from team walks/runs/bikes to group clean up days. The goal was to better understand what’s working, what needs improvement and what an ideal program should look like.

Manifest thought they knew what the outcome of their gathering was going to be: that there was a growing shift away from the softer stuff (like community clean ups) toward more concrete initiatives (like skills-based volunteering).

Their sense was that corporations were increasingly looking for more professionalized opportunities that would better lever their functional areas of expertise.

But it turns out it’s not a matter of what you do that matters.

Rather, the single most defining feature of a successful employee engagement program is the emotional connection to the cause.

All volunteering efforts can be successful –  from sorting food to cleaning up parks to volunteering on a board to overhauling a revenue generation plan – as long as there is an opportunity for employees to feel something.

These feelings can range from feeling grateful to inspired to proud and from strong to energized to alive.

The bottom line? Emotional engagement wins the day for employees.

To learn about the seven features of the ideal corporate volunteering model, click here for Manifest’s comprehensive recap.

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