At Saatchi & Saatchi S we believe that employees are not only the heart and soul of a company, they are a company’s greatest asset in propelling and achieving its sustainability vision. At its most inspirational, employee engagement is also about magnifying the power of individual actions to effect large-scale change.
Known most notably for our employee engagement work with Walmart, we have worked with a range of clients to energize workforces around sustainability and enhance corporate sustainability goals using a blend of strategy, engagement and communications expertise. What we’ve seen through our work with various companies are the great rewards that come with engaging employees — from supporting environmental initiatives that reduce corporate costs to fostering authentic connections between employees and their communities.
Most recently, Saatchi S worked with AT&T’s Citizenship & Sustainability team to design an employee activation and internal communications platform called Do One Thing (DOT), for which the company received the 2013 CSR Award for Workplace Innovation presented by PR News. DOT positions employees as change agents within AT&T and empowers them to choose and implement sustainability-oriented actions that positively impact their lives, communities and the company. We worked with AT&T to develop, prototype, and scale DOT throughout the organization to integrate sustainability into its corporate culture and inspire positive behavior change among its employees. To date, AT&T employees in over 1,000 cities in the United States and more than 25 countries around the globe have chosen individual or team-based DOTs.
The following are a few best practices that have guided our engagement work with AT&T and other companies:
Connect to the Culture
Because each company’s culture is unique, the approach to engaging employees must also be unique. While we have piloted and launched DOT at various companies, including AT&T, WellPoint and Life Technologies, DOT has been distinctive to each company’s corporate culture and brand. As should be the case with any employee-engagement initiative, the strategic approach, framework and branding of DOT have rested on each company’s culture and stage within their sustainability journey. To begin any type of employee-engagement initiative, you must first know the ins-and-outs of your employee culture.
- Recognize Through Storytelling Employees like to be recognized for their positive efforts, and recognition definitely drives more results — this makes storytelling key to driving employee engagement. At AT&T, for example, employees have been front-and-center in DOT stories shared in video, online and print through the company’s internal communications channels to showcase employees’ sustainability efforts.
- Encourage a Ripple Effect Employee engagement is most powerful when it’s focused on more than individual employees; instead, employees should be viewed as part of a larger system that includes the company and the community in which employees work and play. Grounded in the principles of positive psychology and behavior change, DOT encourages employees to connect the dots (pun intended) between what matters to them, what serves their community and environment, and what supports their company. Through this “ripple effect” model, employees are emboldened to drive positive change within their lives, communities, and company — and create true shared value.
Through DOT and other employee engagement initiatives, Saatchi & Saatchi S has empowered employees to drive significant cost savings within their companies, engage with their communities in meaningful ways, reduce their individual and corporate carbon footprints and more.
There’s no doubt that employees are the key to each company’s sustainable success. How does your company engage its employees? Share your best practices in the comments field below!