Care2Act
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Knowledge

Bottom Up, Top Down and Inside Out Employee Engagement

 

Giving back to the community is good corporate stewardship – it is the right thing to do, and it makes good business sense. Research shows that employee engagement drives business performance in all areas: Financial, productivity, profitability, customer relationship, innovation, growth, revenue, the list goes on.

Unfortunately, a 2016 Gallup study showed that only 32.5% of US employees reported they are engaged at work, where “engagement” means they have the opportunity to do what they do best daily, receive encouragement for professional development and believe their opinions matter.

Additionally, Millennials (also referred to as Gen Y) express the need for a purpose and meaning in their work life. According to Fast Company, more than 50% of millennials said that a company’s involvement in various causes influences whether or not they will pursue employment. They want to make the world a better place and they want their company to provide a forum for doing this. The majority believe that businesses are too focused on their own agendas, often financial, and not enough on improving society. By the way, Millennials will be 75% of our workforce by 2025.

How are you currently engaging and motivating your team? One of the most efficient and effective ways is actively promoting volunteering with your team. So let’s explore volunteerism in our organizations. We’ll look at it from the top down, from the bottom up…and from the inside out. As we do, we’ll talk about 2 multipliers that will impact your outcomes: 1) Leadership and purpose, and 2) employee passion and engagement.

  1. Leadership and Purpose

So, how do you make organizational changes happen? Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why and his concept of the “Golden Circle” provide a foundational construct for motivating and influencing others.

YouTube break! Take 6 minutes to watch the opening of Simon Sinek’ TED Talk “Start With Why”.

Sinek observed that leaders who inspire – rather than manipulate – do the opposite of what most leaders do. Most leaders talk about WHAT they do, then HOW they do it, and lastly, WHY they do it. If you take Slalom as an example of this traditional approach, it might look like this.

  • We build software and sell consulting services (WHAT)

  • We hire experienced consultants who have done things like this before (HOW)

  • We help you can achieve your initiative’s ROI (WHY)

Do you want to work with us? Maybe, but….it’s not very compelling.

Brain science tells us that when we talk about WHAT we do first, we stimulate the rational neo-cortex. This is the region of the brain that analyzes facts and logic, but this is not the part of the brain where our most committed decisions are made. That part of the brain is the limbic brain. The limbic brain is stimulated by the HOW and WHY messages – by the stories that capture our hearts first, then our minds. So when we start from the inside out – Start with Why - like Sinek observed the inspirational leaders doing, we inspire action. Let’s look at Slalom’s work from this perspective.

  • We help you reach for and realize your vision (WHY)

  • We hire smart, passionate, experienced consultants who will help you win the hearts and minds of your customers (HOW)

  • By building beautiful software and helping you land your most strategic initiatives. (WHAT)

Do you want to work with us? Much more likely!

When you Start with Why, a leader sets the tone and inspires action. Slalom’s local General Manager, Jim Sikora, joined Slalom to serve a purpose greater than himself – to make an impact in our local community. To build a great consulting business to impact the Phoenix community, he knows that it isn’t enough to hire smart people. Any consulting firm can do that. His approach is to hire people who are passionate about causes and to empower them to be active. Additionally, he knows that as a leader, he needs to sponsor volunteer projects, talk about them and show up. Slalom doesn’t spend a lot of marketing dollars to advertise in Phoenix, instead they go out and make a difference alongside partners and clients. Jim views community service as business development. The benefits of active engagement and volunteering extend far beyond PR or social media posts.

So we’ve talked about leadership and purpose, but what about employees’ passion and engagement?

  1. Employee Passion and Engagement

Care2Act’s mission is to empower others to seek the thrill and benefit of giving back. For a company that doesn’t have strong leadership buy-in, a grass-roots approach can open their eyes.

Build your “grass-roots” team by leveraging the pockets of passion held by your employees, then inspiring others (start with WHY) to join you and them in changing the world. Interestingly, Sinek also references of the Law of Diffusion that says that it only takes 15-18% of people on 

your team, in your organization or department, to create a movement – this is the tipping point at which a trend catches fire.

Once you have a team supporting the community, go back to leadership and share what has been happening. You will be showing initiative, leadership and influence among your peers, which will allow you to make a new case about your company’s community support and its benefits.

At Slalom, we have pockets of passion – people who have a passion for a certain cause or organization – and they inspire others to join them in volunteering. Jennifer Witter, Slalom Practice Area Lead, coordinates volunteer meals for TCAA’s I-HELP program that feeds and houses the homeless in Tempe. She recently shared her passion for this organization with her colleagues who joined her in preparing and serving a meal. And it wasn’t just Slalom families who got involved…one family invited their neighbors who also joined in serving. Everyone who participated asked to be added to a distribution list for future meal service events. A movement has begun.Sinek observed that leaders who inspire – rather than manipulate – do the opposite of what most leaders do. Most leaders talk about WHAT they do, then HOW they do it, and lastly, WHY they do it. If you take Slalom as an example of this traditional approach, it might look like this.

  • We build software and sell consulting services (WHAT)

  • We hire experienced consultants who have done things like this before (HOW)

  • We help you can achieve your initiative’s ROI (WHY)

Do you want to work with us? Maybe, but….it’s not very compelling.

Brain science tells us that when we talk about WHAT we do first, we stimulate the rational neo-cortex. This is the region of the brain that analyzes facts and logic, but this is not the part of the brain where our most committed decisions are made. That part of the brain is the limbic brain. The limbic brain is stimulated by the HOW and WHY messages – by the stories that capture our hearts first, then our minds. So when we start from the inside out – Start with Why - like Sinek observed the inspirational leaders doing, we inspire action. Let’s look at Slalom’s work from this perspective.

  • We help you reach for and realize your vision (WHY)

  • We hire smart, passionate, experienced consultants who will help you win the hearts and minds of your customers (HOW)

  • By building beautiful software and helping you land your most strategic initiatives. (WHAT)

Do you want to work with us? Much more likely!

When you Start with Why, a leader sets the tone and inspires action. Slalom’s local General Manager, Jim Sikora, joined Slalom to serve a purpose greater than himself – to make an impact in our local community. To build a great consulting business to impact the Phoenix community, he knows that it isn’t enough to hire smart people. Any consulting firm can do that. His approach is to hire people who are passionate about causes and to empower them to be active. Additionally, he knows that as a leader, he needs to sponsor volunteer projects, talk about them and show up. Slalom doesn’t spend a lot of marketing dollars to advertise in Phoenix, instead they go out and make a difference alongside partners and clients. Jim views community service as business development. The benefits of active engagement and volunteering extend far beyond PR or social media posts.

So we’ve talked about leadership and purpose, but what about employees’ passion and engagement?

  1. Employee Passion and Engagement

Care2Act’s mission is to empower others to seek the thrill and benefit of giving back. For a company that doesn’t have strong leadership buy-in, a grass-roots approach can open their eyes.

Build your “grass-roots” team by leveraging the pockets of passion held by your employees, then inspiring others (start with WHY) to join you and them in changing the world. Interestingly, Sinek also references of the Law of Diffusion that says that it only takes 15-18% of people on

Mamadou Niang is another passionate Slalom employee. He’s been honored to be one of the Suns 88 for his commitment to volunteerism. Mamadou shared about a charity that he is passionate about and shared with the Slalom team: Project Cure. Mamadou’s father was the first of 20 siblings to get an education, which has opened the door for success to Mamodou. He looks at community support as a way to say thank you for the opportunities that have been provided to him. Project Cure offers an opportunity to give back by providing desperately needed medical equipment and supplies to developing countries. With the support of Slalom and others in the community, Project Cure recently shipped containers with more than $5 million worth of medical supplies to help people in developing countries. Another movement in action.

 

Takeaways:

One person can make a difference for others.

Knowing your Why is the easy part, staying in the Why at all times is tougher.

Millennials will be all of our colleagues and bosses by 2025 and they seek to serve a great purpose than the balance sheet.

Employee engagement through volunteerism is good for business and good for the community.

 

 
David RenoComment