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Motivating Models for 21st Century Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a buzzword that has been around for a long time, but what does it actually mean, and what are the benefits to organisations?

SOURCE: Taproot Foundation


There are many ways an organisation can engage its employees. This article explores both the theory and practice, especially in relation to the social side of sustainability. I’ll highlight two best practice examples from this vast galaxy of programs, initiatives, and missions, one from either side of the Atlantic, one a niche NGO and the other a high profile brand.

Whilst there are hundreds of definitions of this field, a particularly well-rounded one comes from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Engagement is: “being positively present during the performance of work by willingly contributing intellectual effort, experiencing positive emotions and meaningful connections to other”. They make a useful distinction between emotional engagement (driven by a desire to do more for an organisation) and transactional engagement (drive to earn a living and progress).

An influential book in this field is Drive. The author Daniel H Pink looks at the science of motivation, and concludes that extrinsic 'carrot and stick' drivers are very 20th century. He encourages organisations to focus on three intrinsic motivators, or emotional engagement as defined by the CIPD, that can be summarised as autonomy, mastery and purpose. Employee engagement connected to sustainability is, of course, particularly useful for boosting purpose as a motivator, as is demonstrated in the two case studies following.

Taproot – inspiring intentional thinking

For many, when we hear "pro-bono", we think of law firms donating staff time. In fact, this term can refer to the donation of any service, and the US- based Taproot Foundation is an exemplar in this broader field.

I recently had a conversation with Lindsay Firestone Gruber, their MD of Advisory Services, and was inspired by the work they are delivering to both provide social and commercial value and engage employees.

Click here to continue reading on Ethical Performance

Tweet me: .@ethicalp names @taprootfound 1 of 2 "motivating models for 21st century #EmployeeEngagement" #probono

KEYWORDS: Business & Trade, Corporate Social Responsibility, Taproot Foundation, pro bono, Employee Engagement, Ethical performance

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