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01 Mar 2017
by Debra Corey

Why you should wear your heart (mission) on your sleeve  

At the heart of any company is its mission. And like a heart, whose job it is to pump blood to the body’s organs, tissues and cells in order to thrive, so does a mission help a company thrive by creating a sense of purpose and meaning, having a direct and lasting impact on employee engagement. 

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But these days it’s not enough to just have a mission statement written on the wall. Companies have to prove it in what they say and what they do. Many do this by using their mission and even their values to drive the design of their reward programmes whilst others take it to the next level by creating programmes which involve giving back to the community, introducing what some call ‘community wellbeing’.  In this article I’ve highlighted two ways companies are doing this, through volunteering and foundations. 

1) Volunteering

Volunteering is important to employees of any age, but for millennials, who as we’ve all heard will be 75% of the workforce by 2020, it’s moving from a ‘nice to have’ to a business imperative. According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial survey “The facts are clear: promoting and providing employees with meaningful volunteering opportunities helps to attract top talent; engage, develop, and retain employees. Increasingly, today’s employees are entering the workforce with an expectation that volunteering will be a part of their professional careers.” 

There are many other ways that volunteering can help both companies and employees, here are ones I’ve seen over the years:

  1. Improve employee engagement
  2. Improve company visibility/brand
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Encourage teamwork
  5. Learn new skills

Often it’s a combination of these, which helps companies thrive even more. An example is from a recent charity event our mobile developers in Macedonia organised. They worked together as a team to hold a party for over 1,000 people from the local IT sector, supporting and raising money for SOS Children’s Village International. This ticked the box for most of the benefits listed above plus provided a great time for the community and money for a worthy cause.

2) Foundations

Corporate foundations provide focus and structure to a company’s community investment, bringing their mission to life, further defining and stating what it stands for - its purpose and reason for existence. According to a report by Corporate Citizenship “An increasing number of foundations are moving away from the traditional grant giving model towards a more focused and hands on approach, which in some cases draws on the expertise and knowledge of the funding company to solve key social issues.”

Examples of UK foundations are the Mondele-z International Foundation, which aims to empower families and communities to lead healthier lives, the Vodafone Foundation, which aims to use mobile communications to address humanitarian challenges, whilst using mobile technology to mobilise social change and improve people’s lives, and the Asda Foundation, which aims to transform communities and improve the lives of people and communities.

We set up our own foundation in February to align with our mission statement of “Let’s make the world a better place to work”, with the aim of supporting charities and programmes focussing on three priority areas which align to doing just this - women's empowerment and equality, ethnic minority and youth entrepreneurship, and helping people back to meaningful work.

Regardless of a company’s mission, volunteering opportunities and foundations can have a positive impact on your company and, of course to the recipients of the good will. They are a critical part of a total reward and employee engagement strategy, increasing its health and helping it thrive in the competitive marketplace.  So go out there and start wearing your heart (mission) on your sleeve, and show your employees that your mission is more than just words!

Debra Corey is group reward director at Reward Gateway.

This article was supplied by Reward Gateway.

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