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June 15, 2021

Engaging employees through generosity: a recap

With everyone working from home, our pets are right by our side and listening in on meeting after meeting. Instead of getting a recap from our biped teammates, we thought we would turn this over to our four-legged co-workers to get their take on our Navigating company culture series each month.
This month, Wayfinder Dom Pachuilo’s dog, Blue, took a break from napping and studying human behavior in an effort to maximize treats and walks to share his recap of the webinar.

Blue’s view

Strategies for engaging employees through generosity with Chelsea Bowdren from Valley of the Sun United Way

As I settled down to take a bit of a nap, my dad let me know that he was getting started on a webinar. He seemed a little nervous since it was his first time joining the webinar team (whatever that means), but he did just fine. His wifi didn’t, but that seems to be a human problem that is beyond comprehension by canines or otherwise, so I feel like everyone should give him some grace there.

Since I was intrigued by Dad’s demeanor, I decided to postpone my slumber for a bit and to pay more attention to what was going on in this “webinar.” Here’s what I gathered.

Why you should create a generosity plan

First of all, humans are not very motivated to go to work sometimes. My dad has to drink his coffee and go on a walk with me in order to prepare for work, and while that doesn’t seem like a lot, you should see him when he doesn’t do it! So I think that most companies are probably interested in how they can get their employees to be excited about work. It turns out that having a generosity plan of any sort is likely to increase productivity and retention of employees. That seems like a pretty good reason to read the rest of this article, at the very least.

Ways to engage with generosity

There are a few ways that you can get involved if you’d like for your company to be more generous (which hopefully you will be and it will involve bones). You can raise awareness about issues in your community by sharing facts with your workforce or hosting an event with Valley of the Sun United Way to share more information. You can give your employees a chance to volunteer at a food bank, homeless shelter, or other nonprofit organization. You can advocate for changes in policy or practice that adversely affect those experiencing poverty or other challenges. And finally, you can always just write a good old check. I’ve heard humans really like that paper stuff. I’m still not sure why, but I’ll continue my studies of homo sapiens. I do understand that you can trade the paper stuff for bones, and I know a number of dogs that would really appreciate a few more of those.

Strategies for employee engagement through generosity with Chelsea Bowdren of Valley of the Sun United Way

How to build a plan for your employees

Personally, I found Chelsea to be very trustworthy, so if I was going to make a plan, I’d just call her. She’s extremely enthusiastic, which comes in handy when you’re trying to get people to do something. I should know! I have to be incredibly enthusiastic to get my dad to take me out for a walk before his morning coffee! But if you can’t employ Chelsea’s enthusiasm, here’s what you should do.

First, think about what your business is in the business of. For my dad’s company Journeyage, they’re in the business of workforce development, so they decided to focus their generosity efforts on workforce development. I know this won’t work for every company, but it gives you somewhere to start. Hopefully you make bones and chew toys! Next, consult your leadership. We all know that if the alpha dog isn’t on board with the plan, the plan is likely to fail. So make sure they’re ready to go all in with you!

Once you’ve taken those two steps, you should create a plan to share with your employees. This way, they have something to react to. This is a lot like when I go grab a toy or a ball to show my dad so that he can decide exactly how he wants to play with me. Always works for me.

Engaging your employees in corporate generosity

So once you have a basic plan to share with employees, give them a chance to give input. Is this where the company’s time and energy should go? Do they have interest in agencies or organizations that might work in these areas? Your employees want to engage in service to their community, but they don’t necessarily all want to do it in the same way! For example, I like to take long hikes, but some dogs are more into lying under tables during brunch. So let your employees tell you how they’d like to give back.

Once you’ve received feedback from your employees, act on it. If your people want to volunteer online or outside of working hours, organize just that for them. Take their preferences and make it easy for them to engage in the initiatives that you’ve built.

Strategies for employee engagement through generosity with Chelsea Bowdren of Valley of the Sun United Way

Keep exploring

Maksym Fedorenko

Front-end Developer


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