In today’s rapidly evolving corporate landscape, a business’ purpose extends beyond profits to include a commitment to social impact. One way that companies have seen that they can make a meaningful difference is by fostering employee engagement in giving and volunteering programs. During a panel at EVERFI’s Impact Summit in October, representatives from three distinct industries – banking, pharmaceuticals, and distribution – shared insights into their unique employee engagement programs and how they contribute to social impact.
The panel was led by Calli Hartman, Head of Customer Success at YourCause from Blackbaud, and featured Anna Bard from Wells Fargo, Nicole Gordon from Cencora (formerly AmerisourceBergen), and Cindy Haas from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. Despite working in such diverse fields, the common thread among these industry leaders was their commitment to driving social impact through employee engagement.
Understanding Employee Engagement Programs
Employees who feel a sense of purpose at work report higher rates of satisfaction and excitement about their job and have a stronger connection and more engagement with their organization. The first step is identifying an organization’s employee engagement programs and how they can intersect with larger social impact initiatives.
Cindy emphasized the importance of preserving the existing philanthropic culture while introducing a more structured approach through YourCause’s CSRConnect in 2018. Since then, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has seen a remarkable 70,000 hours of volunteer time logged and over half a million dollars donated to various causes by its employees. In addition to employee volunteering efforts, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits sponsors EVERFI’s AlcoholEdu for High School interactive online curriculum, which engages high school students with science-based alcohol education and interactive exercises to help change perceptions, motivate behavior change, and support healthier decisions regarding alcohol.
Cencora’s 46,000 global employees are engaged in diverse roles throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain. Nicole explained the comprehensive nature of their philanthropic engagement program, “My Community Impact,” which includes matching gifts, special campaigns related to natural disasters, volunteer grants and board service grants. “It is quite robust. It has been great to be able to meet our employees where they are and give them different ways to give back, whether that’s monetarily or through volunteering.”
Anna shared Wells Fargo’s commitment to volunteerism with approximately 240,000 employees logging over 700,000 hours in 2022. The company is primarily US-based but has large employee hubs in Indian and Philippines, where there is a strong corporate culture around volunteerism. She highlighted the company’s unique approach to charitable giving, including a year-round giving model and recognizing employee volunteer service. “It’s all about empowering employees, utilizing their community knowledge and what’s important in that community.”
Innovative Approaches to Employee Engagement
To actively involve employees, organizations need to think outside the box of typical volunteerism initiatives. Anna shared details on Wells Fargo’s virtual skills-based volunteering pilot program with Taproot, aimed at connecting employees with rural organizations to bridge the gap between skills and needs.
Cindy discussed the success of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits’ ambassador program. In 2022, they organized a symposium in Miami, bringing together ambassadors who, despite having diverse day jobs, played a crucial role in spreading awareness and facilitating volunteer activities.
Engaging a Dispersed Workforce
Given that many employees in these industries are not desk-bound, the discussion also explored how to engage a dispersed workforce. “There is a pivotal role of ambassadors in connecting with field-based teams, ensuring that everyone feels included and informed about volunteering opportunities,” said Cindy.
The panel discussion showcased that, regardless of industry, companies can drive significant social impact through employee engagement programs. The commitment from these leaders to create inclusive, flexible, and impactful initiatives serves as an inspiration for businesses looking to make a positive difference in the world while fostering a culture of giving and volunteering. As corporate social responsibility continues to evolve, these insights provide a roadmap for companies to navigate and thrive in the realm of employee-driven social impact.
To learn more about the benefits of employee volunteering or how to bring virtual volunteering to your corporate culture, visit: https://solutions.yourcause.com/employee-volunteering-guide/.