Hello -

Fenton curated its first Twitter chat this past week with the hash tag #CSRChat. The session was the launch of a bi-weekly chat series, and our topic was:  Employee Engagement – The Good and the Bad. With over 75 participants and 300+ comments in sixty minutes, we were able to cover a wide variety of issues with regards to a firm’s most important stakeholders – its employees.  Participants  represented consultancies, corporations and nonprofits.  A list of key participants are listed below.

Here are the key questions/discussions pulled from the session:

1) What does Employee Enagement mean to you? Your company?

Employee engagement means buy-in, support, relevance.

Employee engagement could also mean communication from the bottom up with execs listening and responding to the good ideas.

Employee engagement means employees have a real voice, not a token voice.

Employees are the first line of offense and defense.

Employee engagement is employees taking ownership of their own engagement.

Collaboration on the big and little things, from company vision to company’s Facebook page.

A heightened emotional and intellectual connection that an employee has for his/her job, organization.

Engaging employees is about aligning motivations and empowering employees to take shared responsibility.

In terms of #CSR strategy development, engagement crucial to identify, assess strengths, weaknesses, risks, opportunities.

Employees often know better than anyone where the risks and opportunities lie, and capacity of org to address and innovate.

Leadership is inherent in all of us, if you want an engaged workplace, you need tools and activities to bring it out.

TCB sees employee engagement having three components: Behavioral, Cognitive, Emotional.

Engagement means ideas from many sources, action from many sources, creativity and interest in the company beyond the job duties.

Employee engagement means values are embodied throughout the organization.
Employee engagement can be as is a simple as “I like going to work.”

Involves a lot of leadership and feedback – plus engagement with communities via employees.

Employee engagement has many definitions and many answers. It is as unique as you.

I think engagement is about respect, responsibility and enabling employees to do what they’re best at.

Employee engagement is not about programs, perks, or pay.

Corporate volunteering is a great means of engagement.

If the #csrchat were a company, all of us taking part would be employee engagement.

I think of it as a matrix: levels of engagement across one axis, realm of engagement down other.

At the core, engagement is about the belief that one can make a real impact on results – whatever those may be.  Varies.

Employee engagement is as much about individual personal as well as professional development.
Engaged employees & their great ideas can really bring about innovation in sustainability – i.e. save $$ for the co.!

2) Who is doing it well? Examples? In your research, can you share some great firms doing outstanding engagement work?

I see Burts Bees doing some good stuff , P&G is also great.

IBM does a great job of engaging employees internally, which sparks positive feedback.

@IBM provides tremendous employee education assistance grants and programs. IBM has programs for employees to express positive/negative sentiment, ideas, educate themselves on company projects. Yes, all done digitally but very well organized. Educating employees on co. news & preventing issues with public communication programs

@Patagonia tracks daily ocean surfing by its employees in its office. Gr8 employee engagement.

Intel seems to be doing a pretty good job too.

Enbridge engaging employees around its energy4everyone initiative.

FedEx does a good job. From a service culture, FedEx empowers employees to deliver (pardon pun) and protect the brand.

Zappos, also, is a great example of employee engagement done right. Many examples from Zappos: Their employee Handbook is a collection of perspectives from employees, unedited & updated frequently. Most of their meetings are livestreamed to employees.

Radio Flyer Wagon (60 employees) gives each new employee a brand new red wagon to take home, own and play.

At @CSRwire, we have a monthly all employee meeting all departments including finance takes part completely transparent.

3) What ways are most effective in aligning corp CSR vision w/employees day to day life?

Framework of interconnected strategy-policy-programs-tools.


4) Does aligning with a nonprofit or NGO help with engagement? Can you cite examples?

This helps, but only if internal company culture enables engagement.

Having a strong philanthropic vision is a powerful way to engage employees and inspire them.

I think it can if everyone is on board with the cause. Employee engagement to determine cause would be important, right?

Yes. Like when organizations match the donations employees give to charities of choice.

5) How does your organization measure employee engagement?

Measure emp engagement thru numbers of employee suggestions to make the company a better place and improve work processes/results.

Measure via surveys (Survey Monkey) – easy and inexpensive or measure via SurveyGizmo, easy & free acct offers more. Comparison: http://bit.ly/9JmX7i

I often look for numbers of employees who recommend the company to their best friend as an engagement metric.

One basic EE measure: “Would I recommend this company to a friend?” Do you ask it? What is your answer?

6) Can you suggest some good examples of NGO/Corp partnerships that inspire engagement?

TNT in the Netherlands  sponsors  the UN World Food Programme, that creates engagement, espially for would-be employees. However, CSR in relation to People, Planet, Profit stays difficult

How about IBM’s partnership w/CDC for its corporate service corps? Amazing impacts, both inside and outside company

@nikeonline partnered with the http://www.mgrf.org for the Chicago marathon and did a training mentorship program for over 100 high school students.

Swiss-based @Novartis has Community Partnership Day–thousands associates (from Bangladesh to Slovakia) give back to their towns

See www.teamupforautism.com. @DanMarinoFdtn @samsungtweets @jess3. $100k for #autism research

@homedepot / Habitat for Humanity is a good example of employee engagement.

7) What are the goals of engagement?

Goal=influence him/her to apply additional discretionary effort to his/her work.

Goals of engagement: building organizational and individual capacity, positive corporate culture and delivering results

8) Is it the Company’s responsibility to create engagement or the employee or both?

The company should encourage their employees , then let their talents shine.

A company must create an environment where an employee can become engaged, but of course the employee has to make the decision.

Companies need to utilize employees as marketers/ambassadors/advocates/champions/evangelists (latter has bad connotations).

Engaging employees in community service may still not mean they are engaged on the job. Need more. EVP is just one part.

Agreed. Personal, professional, and public realms of engagement apply, for all employees–including board. Values in play, too.

9) Who should run employee engagement programs? HR? Marketing? Corp Com? Executive?

Executive-level is mandatory, only then you are sure that there is sustainable commitment.

Marketers should run employee engagement programs – understand the science and have the tools (but I am biased).

In the UK leaders are titled with Employee Engagement Director. Do we need this in the US?

HR has responsibilty for process, all managers must support, all employees share responsibility in driving engagement.

In fact, team drawn from various depts could be ideal RT.

It should come from the top. That gives it a genuine feel.

Should be a task-force with key responsibilities divided among the members but led/blessed via top.

Will depend on the company but HR and Communications should be up there

10) Is it just for large companies?

NO! Important regardless of scale. But might look different.

11) Should there be an element of “fun”? Since we all work 15+ hour days?

@FentonProgress hosts yoga once per week for employees.

Wherever possible! Engagement itself often leads to a positive morale.

If it’s fun, it gets done. Fun should be part of any corporate culture and definitely supports engagement.

You don’t want to force it. What works for Zappos may not work for others.

It’s not easy to create ‘fun’ but some more-casual elements are necessary.

12) How can environmental sustainability play into Employee Engagement?

How can it not?

Ride sharing, Recycling, Paperless Office.

Include environmental sustainability into benefits packages (extra vacation day for series of actions taken to reduce footprint).

Participation in athletic events that benefit the ocean, animals etc.

13) What are best practices for selling in a CSR or sustainability program to company leadership?

Show the money.

Show linkage to strategy and market differentiators = best practices for selling.

Read: @saaron’s _Climb the Green Ladder_ – excellent book.

14) General CSR Tips/Suggestions:

Companies can provide employees with the @GreenGarmento to eliminate one time single use plastic for their dry-cleaning.

Check out platforms like http://greennurture.com that allow for employee engagement, idea vetting and even anonymous suggestions from CEO.

Personal, professional, and public realms of engagement apply, for all employees–incldng board.

Values in play 2.

At age 22, getting my first job with real responsibilities to make decisions, in a company with values (P&G) was pretty engaging. And, I think, more and more Gen Y workers want to know they can have an impact on their company & have a voice.

What about leadership by example, @BillGates, @PaulAllen philanthropic giving; Microsoft employee giving program engages?

Agree that visionary goals are engaging.

15) Follow-Up Reading Suggestions:

10 Easy Ways to Show Your Employees You Love Them via @mashable – perfect for yesterday’s http://on.mash.to/hObKYo

How we live daily: http://j.mp/fUyz3L

Free ebook 7 Keys to Employee Engagement http://bit.ly/fg18SQ

@celesahorvath’s post: “Tailoring a bespoke CR strategy: why you should engage employees”  http://bit.ly/dTIqOH

Sample participants: