SEEK's journey in launching a workplace giving program
In June 2014, SEEK launched its workplace giving program, Small Change. Social Investment Manager at SEEK, Naomi Barson, explains what was involved and the impact the program has had on staff engagement since then.
When SEEK launched our workplace giving program, Small Change, just over a year ago, we set an ambitious initial target of getting half our employees to participate and, through a month-long campaign, we increased participation from 7% to 54%.
Yet, we still thought that we could do better and have been promoting participation through a range of creative initiatives since then.
4 core elements to consider when establishing a workplace giving program
For the greatest impact, we knew that it was critical to link workplace giving to the culture of our organisation. This way it becomes more than an employee benefit and moves into 'the way we do things around here' mindset, which gives the program far more weight. To do this, we’ve found that the following elements all play important roles:
- Attach the program to your company purpose and culture – at SEEK, workplace giving is one of the ways in which we connect our people to our vision, purpose and beliefs, in particular, having a positive impact on society.
- Matching donations dollar for dollar – this is one of the key benefits of giving through the workplace. The collective power of small donations that are matched achieve a far greater impact than any individual could do alone.
- Program ownership – appointing a program manager and empowering them to trial new initiatives has enabled us to learn what resonates with donors and how to better influence non-donors.
- Leadership and senior management support and advocacy – it is integral that leaders are involved and visibly endorse the program.
Initiatives to consider when building participation and engagement
These are some of the initiatives that we've trialled over the past year, which have proved successful:
- Frequent creative campaigns that give employees the opportunity to interact with partner charities and build brand awareness.
- Regular communication to update donors on the impact of their contribution, building pride among participants and establishing participation as a social norm.
- Rational and emotional messaging to connect with non-donors and encourage them to join.
- Integrating workplace giving throughout other business communications and events, rather than only discussing it during dedicated workplace giving campaigns.
- Have some fun and make it easy to get involved.
3 creative ways SEEK promoted workplace giving
- One of our MDs partnered with a vendor from The Big Issue to sell magazines outside our office. This benefited our charity partner, got us up close and personal with their work, and the event gave us a platform to promote Small Change.
- We ran an Instagram campaign inviting employees to submit photos of their pets to be judged in a range of categories. On the final day of the campaign, The Lort Smith Animal Hospital brought four dogs to visit our head office, linking the fun campaign to charity and animal welfare.
- We delivered chocolate brownies to all employees with the tag line ‘Brownie points for doing your bit’ aiming to celebrate those who already participate, as well as incentivise non-donors to join.
Some of these initiatives have been more successful than others in generating support, which can be measured by the increase in donor numbers, donor generosity or both. However, all activities have contributed to increasing internal brand awareness of Small Change, as well as reinforcing its position as an integral part of our business.
As more and more organisations engage their people in workplace giving, the collective positive impact we can have on those in need increases exponentially. This is fantastic for charities and we have found has a positive impact on employee engagement, retention, productivity and company reputation. Workplace giving is a win-win for business and the community alike.