The Key to Scaled Impact: Employee Leadership

The Key to Scaled Impact: Employee Leadership

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 12:15pm




Postcards from the Pro Bono Summit: Corporate Day

Every year, one of the highlights of the Corporate Day of the Global Pro Bono Summit is the “Promising Practices Pop-Up Panel” highlighting great examples that emerged of innovative ideas and approaches for corporate pro bono programs. This blog showcases one of these great promising practices from Corporate Day attendees.

“Would you be willing to sponsor our upcoming event?”

At LinkedIn for Good and other corporate social impact programs, we get asked this question all of the time. It’s a worthy question; nonprofits and community groups are doing great work hosting events in the community to thank donors, acquire new ones, celebrate impact and more. However, at LinkedIn, we measure employee performance based on “Leadership, Leverage and Results” – and we carry this performance evaluation system into our social impact practices as well. We’re eager to respond to community needs, especially in a way that leverages our products and employee talents to maximize results.

So I’ll return to the question, “Would you be willing to sponsor our upcoming event?” with a short story.

This question was posed in early 2011 to Jeff Matthews, a Director of LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions in our Dublin office. The sponsorship ask was relatively small, only 10,000 Euro, to support Plan Ireland’s school-building initiative. But Jeff simply didn’t have the budget to give. What Jeff did have was a team of passionate sales employees, hungry for a challenge and an opportunity to make a positive impact.

So what did Jeff do?

He got a team of sales reps together to phone bank the organization’s donors.

In doing so, he leveraged the incredible resource of passionate talent with real sales skills to make hundreds of “thank you” calls and inspire past donors to give again. To date, Jeff’s office’s “Calling for a Cause” campaigns are estimated to have generated over 732,000 Euro (or 1 Million USD) for Plan Ireland alone. Not only that, but what started as one event has blossomed into a Signature Program at LinkedIn; a group of LinkedIn engineers came together to launch an online platform to make the event easier and more fun to run, and teams across the globe now rally to raise funds for organizations they’re passionate about by replicating the Calling for a Cause program.

At LinkedIn for Good, all of our employee social impact programs are inspired and led by employees themselves. Although we have only one full-time employee focused on employee volunteerism, we have an Employee Board of 15 employees who are responsible for empowering their colleagues in all of our offices to leverage the best of themselves – their talents, passions and networks – to produce real results when it comes to community impact.

Calling for a Cause is one of our favorite examples of what it looks like when you take a worthy nonprofit request like “Would you be willing to sponsor our event?” and respond not with a “yes” or “no,” but rather with a question in return: “How can we best leverage our company’s core competency and the passions of our employees to make an even greater difference?” – and then allow employees themselves to make it happen.

Elizabeth Linzer works at the LinkedIn for Good Foundation.