The 5 Biggest Takeaways from our MeetUp
Meaningful engagement, that was the topic of our MeetUp last Tuesday. A big group of people joined us to talk about the best ways to engage your employees, how to create a purpose-driven community, and the role purpose plays in recruitment and HR.
A big thanks to all the people who were there and shared their thoughts! We look back on a very inspiring day with great insights. We’d like to share 5 of the most important topics that were discussed and their biggest takeaway.
1. Your purpose framework provides boundaries, but never forget about your employees’ needs
We invited Kaspar Holznagel from Accenture to talk about their way of working. He shared the ingredients for a strong purpose ecosystem:
- A mutual understanding about purpose;
- A CSR or impact team to make it happen;
- Autonomy for the employees to do something they care about.
However, in real life there are usually some obstacles to overcome before you arrive at the perfect purpose ecosystem. A few participants mentioned they particularly struggle with the autonomy part when it comes to bottom-up initiatives. They wanted to know how to regulate these types of initiatives and when it’s ok to say no to proposed initiatives.
Kaspar mentioned that it’s important to establish a framework and stick to it. This allows you to determine some boundaries. However, mutual understanding also plays a big part here: make sure bottom-up initiatives match both your purpose and the company culture, because it’s very disengaging to say no all the time.
2. Building a strong community takes time, but once the community is up and running it can thrive on its own
An important part of creating engagement is building a community around your platform. Martine from InSided joined us to share a few tips on building a successful community.
The first phase of this process takes time and effort: you’ll have to help people out and motivate them, let them know the platform exists and show what they can do there. Once they become more active, you can build on this and create a thriving community that manages itself. This process might take months or even years, but once you established a community, your platform will be stronger for it.
3. Skill-based initiatives also improve important skills and the connection between peers
Martine identified 4 benefits for people to be an active member of the community:
- Cognitive benefits: people gain valuable skills and knowledge.
- Social integrative benefits: people create a stronger bond with their peers.
- Personal integrative benefits: people get recognition for their hard work.
- Hedonistic benefits: the projects allow people to improve themselves and have fun with it.
Building on these benefits is a great way to activate your employees. A great example came from Accenture: After the Making a Difference Battle, Accenture noticed that employees not only had become more engaged on the job, they also had gained valuable skills and bonded with their peers. This strengthened their community in a lot of different ways.
Feedback Accenture got from their employees ranged from “I learned new skills through design thinking facilitation and consulting in a new industry” to “I’ve further developed my leadership skills”.
4. When you only have a financial objective for your social impact you lose authenticity
Lonneke Roza, researcher at the Erasmus University, explained the difference between CSR and corporate citizenship. The biggest differentiator? The importance you put on your financial and social impact objectives. With CSR, the financial objective is still key, whereas with corporate citizenship you look at how you can contribute to society.
This difference is very important to your authenticity. If you create a purpose because you think it’s good for business you lose credibility. Not only with your employees, but also with your other stakeholders. That’s why it’s key to make purpose happen from the inside out by engaging your employees.
5. Millennials care, but that doesn’t mean other generations don’t
Roza tackled the misconception that millennials are the only people who care about a sense of purpose in their work. Older generations are also looking for more meaning in their careers. A lot of people are looking to change careers and by creating a solid purpose program, you can find these people.