Idea Round-Up: How to drive social purpose in the workplace

We know simple acts of workplace social purpose can protect the environment, promote justice, and improve the world. (That’s why we do them!) But most of us are unaware that acts of social purpose augment the wellbeing and careers of employees performing the good deeds.

WeSpire invited Fortune 500 purpose advisor and author of Do Good at Work: How Simple Acts of Social Purpose Drive Success and Wellbeing Bea Boccalandro to lead a discussion about the benefits of a workday that has social purpose. During the webinar (watch the recording here) many in the audience shared their strategies for deepening the sense of purpose at their workplaces.

Here is a round-up of the best social purpose activities suggested by the audience:

  • Quarterly gatherings/reflection sessions of employees serving on boards to share their experiences
  • Brown-bag lunch meetings for those serving on community boards
  • Board member presentations to employees about ways to volunteer
  • Create an organization-wide competition
  • Prioritize social purpose volunteer projects with agencies where we have board members
  • Bring people together for online volunteering activities like Zooniverse or Missing Maps
  • Promote skill-based volunteer opportunities.
  • Consider having a group of employees work as a team to support a board’s objectives (HR planning, strategy, business transformation, etc.)
  • Align the nonprofit board with company’s purpose and then board members share the work on the board and then have groups engage in the work as a service opportunity

Several attendees shared specific examples of what’s happening in their organizations:

  • “My organization’s volunteer tracking system (which allows us to earn rewards to give as cash donations on top of the time contributed) asks us to relate our volunteer activity with a relevant business skill. Helps to focus us on applying those skills to areas of need in voluntary organizations.”
  • “We run idea boards to collect ideas for socials, which charities we support in matching gift campaigns, t-shirt designs, and so much more. They love contributing ideas… then we implement the ones with the most peer votes.”
  • “My company has curated a list of virtual volunteerism initiatives in the form of a bingo board ranging in time commitment for each market locally. so, they see opportunities to support nonprofits in their own communities. employees can choose any activity at their discretion based on their interests and time commitments!”

And, for those who already have social impact initiavies in place, here are a few suggestions for deepening the connection:

  • Sending diverse company members out to volunteer; it is a team building opportunity and connection to each others’ work
  • Employee survey of interests and how they want to be involved
  • Ask people to share their stories, quotes about their experiences, and photos (We agree!)
  • Invite host nonprofit to send response to volunteers about the impact of their efforts
  • Rotate responsibility of opening a meeting among all team members
  • Hold a social-innovation contest to solicit ideas directly from employees about how they want to give back; let employees vote on their favorites and prioritize engaging in those activities
  • Public acknowledgement (e,g, in town hall meetings) of employee contributions (Recognition is key!)
  • Don’t limit employees to staffing/execution oriented roles, make them part of the strategy, planning and measurement.
  • Have recipients of the CSR write thank you and testimonials to the employees

WeSpire’s research shows that employees who participate in purpose-driven programs are more likely to be engaged, to stay with the company, and to perform highly in their role. Interested in learning more about how WeSpire can infuse social purpose into every job at your organization? Request a demo.

Are you ready to build a better working world?