The power of Employee Involvement

Companies strive for leadership not only in their core business, but in the area of Corporate Responsibility. They can’t achieve this without Employee Involvement.

Employee Involvement is an integral part of your Community Involvement strategy. It is the personal involvement of employees in the communities where they work and live that will make your Community Involvement come to life.

Employee Involvement is a ‘triple win’ for employees, communities, and the company.  It provides communities with much-needed help, motivates employees in their day-to-day work, and increases corporate image and reputation. It can also be activated as a strategic HR tool. This chapter tells you how, beginning with an inspiring interview with Thomas Baumeister, VP Corporate Volunteering, Region Germany, at Deutsche Bank.

The Business Case for Employee Involvement is about both corporate reputation and human resources:

  • Employees who are passionate about being involved in their communities are excellent ambassadors for your company and give it a human face.  Besides the positive impact on communities and stakeholder opinion, Employee Involvement can generate substantial positive media coverage and great word of mouth.
  • Employee Involvement can also be used as a strategic HR tool for recruiting, retaining, and developing qualified and motivated talent. It offers clear organizational benefits, such as promoting team spirit, increasing motivation, improving the work environment, developing employees, and enhancing your corporate culture.  Increasingly, companies position Employee Involvement as promoting work-life balance and as part of their company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). 
  • Employee Involvement offers employees both personal satisfaction and development.  With the right program, they can even experience a match between corporate and personal values.

Employee Involvement has three components: Employee Volunteering, Matched Time, and Matched Funding. These components will be explained in detail in the chapter.

Once you understand what Employee Involvement is and how you can make the Business Case for it, we will then help you pursue a structured approach to designing your own Employee Involvement initiative.

The international benchmark for Employee Involvement is currently 30% of employees being actively involved in the community. This varies significantly between countries, companies and cultures. 

A five-step process, described in detail in the chapter, can help you work towards that target:

1. Explore – within the community, within the company, with employees

2. Design – the best programs require time, effort and attention to detail from the start

3. Engage –
inform, motivate, and activate  

4. Measure and Evaluate – capture success, including output and impact

5. Recognize, Reward, and Communicate – celebrate those who have contributed to your program’s success.

In summary, it helps to first check out good practice from other companies. Equally important is making the Business Case for Employee Involvement to senior management and engaging them as champions of your Employee Involvement efforts.

Your initial steps will include appointing a coordinator (or if you are reading this chapter, you might be that coordinator yourself), allocating a budget, and developing an Employee Involvement action plan.  Engaging the hearts and minds of employees starts with good internal communication and providing opportunities for them to take action.  As you progress, you will want to measure and evaluate progress, recognizing and rewarding your colleagues for their contributions to their communities.