Engaging disengaged

By Teresa Aldea

23 October 2015


It is OK not be very motivated on Monday morning, especially when you have to get up from a bed when it is dark, cold and maybe even raining outside. 
Unfortunately some of us suffer from Monday-morning mood more often than others. Not being a doctor and without psychological background, I can only say that these people don’t have a good reason mobilising them to get up and most likely they don’t like their jobs. Is there anything we can do to help them, besides encouraging them to quit and find a new job?

Engaging disengaged
The truth is that, sadly, the majority of people are disengaged at work. Only 13% people on the world are engaged. 
If you are in the lucky 13%, I’m sure you don’t have a problem with extended Monday-morning mood. You enjoy what you are doing and you are doing it well, what makes your boss a happy person too (see below why).








Source: http://deliveringhappiness.com/community/#

Dead end street
Traditionally, money has been seen as an enabler for pretty much everything. Not surprisingly many companies use monetary rewards to motivate employees, hoping that they will deliver better performance. Will they? The answer is: not always! Here is an interesting movie explaining monetary rewards:









There are many alternative ways of engaging employees. One of the solutions for disengaged staff is to make them feel more purpose. We all want to believe that what we do every day, not only makes shareholders richer, but also contributes to some positive change in the world that makes us feel proud. 
With this in mind many companies develop Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategies demonstrating that their business has important role to play in creating social and environmental value. 

Volunteering programme is an essential element of every CSR strategy. It gives opportunity to participate in something big. It is an effective solution for companies that want:
• Respond to specific social or environmental issues effecting their business or related to their everyday operations and core products and services.
• Engage employees, make them more motivated to work and loyal to their employer.


To find out tips for companies how to introduce employee volunteering, read the prevous article Fight for the best.


Source: http://netimpact.org/learning-resources/research/what-workers-want/talent-report-what-workers-want-in-2012 


At least 3 ways to go
Some companies give their employees a bit of autonomy and let them choose what they want to do. Staff usually have a day or two for paid voluntary work and can spend them on projects they are passionate about. 
Other companies prefer employees to participate in volunteering projects organised by the company or organised by one of the strategic partners. These activities usually address issues that are covered in the CSR strategy. Good practice is to design the programmes in a way that employees can either use their current skills (something they are good at) or learn something new (gain new skills that will be useful in their job e.g. managing people or projects).
Even better idea is to use volunteering as a team building exercise and encourage teams or even whole departments to spend some time on working together. In comparison to other team integration opportunities in this case people not only come back to work energised but also with great satisfaction and the feeling of pride. The value created through their work is an additional benefit.

Not everybody might be interested in volunteering. However, those who are should be able to fulfil their ambitions. Good employer removes any blockers for this to happen. 
One of my clients, a shopping center chain owner, complained once that middle managers where not encouraging their employees to volunteer. Less people at work, made them worried about not achieving targets. Improved communication inside an organisation and consensus on employee volunteering, helped remove such barrier. A bit more planning and cooperation quickly pays back. Motivated employees coming back to work over perform those who don’t volunteer, hitting even the most challenging targets. 
Last week somebody from shared services company told me that volunteering gives people something to talk about, besides KPIs, targets and other work-related topics. These spontaneous conversations in the corridor, lift or canteen create fantastic atmosphere in the workplace, atmosphere that differentiate one workplace from another. I couldn’t agree more with this.


Good practice example:
On the Business in the Community website I found a great good practice example. Nationwide Building Society won last year BITC’s Employee Volunteering Business Award. One of the core elements of Nationwide’s CSR strategy: “Living on Your Side” is engaging employees in creating positive change in the society.

WHY: through volunteering programme Nationwide wants to improve employee engagement, development and retention, as well save money and enhance its brand. Strategic focus of volunteering is based on using the areas where Nationwide can have the biggest impact: supporting young people with numeracy, employability and skill sharing with the voluntary sector.

WHAT: Nationwide developed a range of projects for employees, ranging from Number Crunchers where volunteers could support pupils struggling with maths to Plan 500 where volunteers were helping young people into employment through mentoring.

• Set up 28 Number Cruncher partnerships in schools, with 92% of students involved showing improved numeracy and 85% showing increased confidence in money management.
• Supported 229 young people in the south-west through a work experience and internship programme in 2013, and mentored 58 Nationwide employees through Plan 500.
• Employees gave more than 18,000 volunteering hours to 151 organisations

• As a result of the programme, 90% of employees said they feel able to volunteer during company time, while 94% of those who volunteered felt more motivated and positive about Nationwide.
• Research showed that 72% of those who volunteered were more engaged, with a correlation between engagement and better customer service, while 90% of volunteers said they had developed new skills.
• The programme improved the company's reputation, with PressWatch ranking Nationwide as the most socially responsible business in the sector.

Info source: http://www.bitc.org.uk/our-resources/case-studies/nationwide-building-society-employee-volunteering#sthash.IScJCW2W.dpuf

Teresa Aldea, CSR consultant and founder of Ecodea, helps businesses all over the word to differentiate themselves from peers and increase profits through sustainable solutions. Teresa has over 7 years’ experience in developing and implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies, including stakeholder engagement programmes, communication and reporting projects.