Days of Service: Unlocking a Key to Employee Engagement

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Days of Service: Unlocking a Key to Employee Engagement

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More than half (53%) of employees want to share photos, videos and experiences on social media. Find ways to encourage posting during your day of service, like through the use of a hashtag.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 10:15am

Company-wide days of service are a staple of engaging employees in volunteerism. Companies around the world like PwC*, Samsung, JetBlue and Timberland* kicked off the summer season by hosting volunteer service events to rally employees around a common cause, even setting records. And employees are embracing it. In fact, our 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study shows that 67 percent of employees want employers to offer company-wide days of service.

Earlier this month, Cone hosted its own annual day of service, where our New York and Boston offices joined together at the Charles River Esplanade to beautify a stretch of land along the river in partnership with the Esplanade Association. When planning your organizations' day of service, keep in mind four lessons we learned at our own annual service event.

1. Build internal ambassadors: Today's employees want to get engaged and invested in a company's CR commitments. In fact, 71 percent want their company to provide opportunities for them to help make a positive impact on the company's social and environmental commitments. This is an opportunity that cannot be ignored in planning a day of service. At Cone, our human resources team tapped employees across the agency to plan our 2016 event –from selecting a nonprofit partner to organizing the day's activities. Instantly, this type of engagement creates a band of ambassadors who are invested and willing to spread the word across the organization to build excitement for the event.

2. Make it meaningful: Employees want to make a difference to causes personal to them. As an agency headquartered in Boston, Cone decided to make a local impact by volunteering with The Esplanade Association to beautify land along the Charles River by removing invasive plants that have overrun the ecosystem. At the end of the day, employees stepped back and saw the difference made in their own backyard. As today's employees view employers as facilitators of their own philanthropic and volunteerism efforts, companies should prioritize issues and causes that are relevant across their footprint, but flexible enough to make a meaningful impact in each location.

3. Avoid a one-activity-fits-all approach: When it comes to volunteerism, employees crave options. More than half of employees prefer activities that are a balance between skills they use every day and skills that are not related to their job – meaning companies can't check the box with just one activity.

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