I Just Want to be Engaged!

Onsite Volunteer Focus Drives Employee Involvement and Engagement
Dec 18, 2015 1:35 PM ET

When my husband and I first started dating, before I worked at TWC, I used to vent to him about how disconnected I felt in my former job. “I just want to be engaged,” I told him one day. He immediately turned white and his jaw dropped.

Clearly we had different interpretations of what “engaged” meant. He imagined me planning our wedding after only a few weeks of dating. But I was talking about my desire to feel a connection between the work I was doing and my company’s role in the community.

We laugh about that moment to this day.

While definitions of “engaged” vary, we know that engaged employees are the lifeblood of any successful company.  They have strong relationships with leaders, invest in their own career development and enjoy a supportive work environment.  But that’s not all.  Engaged employees cite a wide variety of reasons why they feel positive about their work and employer; such as recognition, compensation, communication and other intrinsic rewards.  More and more, we are seeing that highly engaged employees are the ones with a sense of purpose; those who truly understand the connection between the work that they do and their company’s impact on the world. 

At Time Warner Cable, we’ve learned that employee volunteers are amongst our most highly engaged team members.  Our research shows that they are far more likely to remain with TWC than those who do not volunteer, and are twice as likely to recommend TWC as a place to work.  When organizations can show that volunteerism contributes to engagement and retention, it means that “doing good” also helps the bottom line.  Everybody wins when employees volunteer. With this insight, our Community Investment team made a strong commitment to ramp up the number of employee volunteer experiences so that significantly more employees had a chance to volunteer in 2015 vs. 2014. 

TWC is the only major cable operator to offer up to 12 hours of paid time off annually for employees to volunteer, but it’s not always easy for people to find the time to do so. This is especially true for our front-line employees, who are working various shifts on the phone or in the field as technicians. Recognizing that employee engagement is not only something for HR to focus on; the Community Investment team found new ways to bring employees and volunteerism together.

First, TWC’s leaders got involved and developed community projects for their teams to do together. Working side-by-side, team members found a new sense of fellowship around a common community goal. Next, we brought volunteerism to the office, with meaningful onsite projects, like making baby blankets for families in need or disaster kits for the American Red Cross.  Maximizing leadership involvement was important to growing volunteerism, but the evolution of onsite opportunities was a game changer. Once it became simple and easy for employees to take an hour, walk down the hall and make a real difference, the momentum around volunteerism built. “In my 13 years at TWC I have never felt the impact that our volunteer efforts had like I did at the Stop Hunger Now onsite volunteer event,” said Mateo Vasquez, Lead Tech, Western NY. “The unifying spirit and camaraderie this one event had will go a long way. Many of us left feeling like we did – and were a part of – a great thing.”

This shift to volunteering at the office meant that even more of our colleagues had the opportunity to feel a community connection. Since 2014, the number of TWC employees volunteering has doubled and together we’ve logged more than 40,000 hours of volunteer time in 2015 alone. Whether it is in the community or at the office, making sure employees have opportunities to make a difference in the community, will make a difference in your organization. Even if it means bringing volunteer projects to them!  Because, in addition to helping others, they are connecting on a whole different level with their colleagues…driving that valuable feeling of shared purpose and commitment.

Now that's what I call “engaged”!

To see what I’m talking about, watch the video above from our 2015 Weeks of Service, which saw TWC employees from across the country donate their time and efforts to community causes – both inside of the office and in the community.  Employee engagement on display…