We all agree that a company empowering its employees to contribute to society is a good thing. It’s good for them as well as for the company. Countless studies, from Mc Kinsey to Gallup, not to mention Korn Ferry, show that allowing your employees to volunteer, for example, helps to make them happy at work.
The logical consequence is a feeling of having done something useful and a certain amount of personal pride and fulfilment. But it’s not enough to simply organize a race to raise money for a cause. It has to be done in the right way.
The thing is that some companies boasting of contributing to the common good without making sure that an impact has indeed been generated and without even bothering to measure it.
For them, the simple act of organizing a fundraising event once or twice a year or collecting unused shampoo bottles from hotels to donate to a cause is enough. You think I’m kidding? Nope. True story.
I think that doing so is unnecessary and may even do harm. All it shows is that it highlights a severe lack of sustainable strategy and purpose. Plus, it frankly doesn’t seem very smart. Running a hackathon doesn’t make your company purpose-driven.
As Simon Sinek pointed out, “without committed, infinite-mindset leaders willing to challenge accepted norms of how the working world works, statements of Cause are just feel-good marketing — stuff a company may say to curry favor with people inside outside the organization but may not actually believe in or do themselves.” To give your employees a good reason to work in your company, you have to give them not only the means (a salary) but also a purpose and make sure that this purpose is translated into concrete actions. This raison d’être must be at the heart of your DNA.
There is a challenge there: make your employees more fulfilled at work by giving meaning to what they do so that they feel more committed to your company. All of this is only possible if the meaning you give sounds right and true.
To engage people, you need to tell them why they do what they do. You need to define, WITH THEM, your sustainable corporate purpose and the strategy to achieve it. In short, you need to define precisely the “North Star” that will guide them along the way and make them resilient to the challenges that your organization will sooner or later face.
Otherwise, your employees will not be behind you to help you overcome them.
That is why doing one or two fundraisings a year is not enough. The meaning you want to give to work needs to be reflected everywhere, from the way you treat your employees, to the way you interact with your stakeholders, and the way your supply chain is organized.
It must also be reflected in the clarity of your message and the care you take in defining your sustainability goals so that all your employees can mobilize to support them.
Purpose unites, mobilizes, and strengthens employees’ cohesion. It allows them to overcome the challenges and hardships they will face with you with as little difficulty as possible. Above all, your sustainable business purpose will encourage them to stay by your side.
Asking people to collect books or, as said above, shampoo bottles in hotels to give them to an association all to help you sleep at night, is useless and frankly, we can do more than that.
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