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Top tips for staff engagement

27 Mar 2024

The struggles around staff engagement, recruitment and retention are well documented.

It’s never been more important for employers to address what workers really want. From quiet quitting to the great resignation, we know that employers are facing real challenges to find and retain a skilled workforce.

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But what’s really exciting is how forward-thinking organisations use their social impact initiatives to directly affect the employee value proposition and improve staff engagement.

Through our corporate partnerships, we see that a key way to keep colleagues connected, motivated, and engaged is through purpose-led opportunities at work. By working smartly, employers can increase their social impact at the same time as strengthening internal culture and building a brand identify with purpose.

But how do you keep staff engaged after the initial groundswell of interest in a social purpose project subsides?

We asked four corporate partners to share their expert opinions in a live online webinar covering tips and tricks to improve working culture, staff engagement and skills development, using communications for lasting results, and how social impact partnerships can help meet this priority.

1. Role modelling

Capital One and National Numeracy partnered in March 2022, with a shared commitment to addressing social mobility and supporting people with the number confidence to succeed in life.

Dave Richards, Head of CSR and DIB, Capital One joined our online webinar. Dave firmly believes in the ‘if not you, then who?’ philosophy and believes role modelling is vital in establishing and maintaining engagement amongst colleagues, especially when recruiting volunteers. He believes that by speaking from experience and the heart, even the most hesitant of colleagues can be persuaded to get involved.

"It’s really important to me that when I’m recruiting volunteers or influencing people at all levels of our organisation to get involved, I can speak from experience and speak from the heart about what it’s like to actually be involved."

Dave Richards from Capital One

2. Bring colleagues along on the journey

Experian and National Numeracy have been working together to empower communities with number confidence and financial education since 2018.

Sara Brophy, Experian’s Senior Social Impact Manager, shared her thoughts on staff engagement and stressed the importance of executive sponsorship and working with internal comms teams. She believes buy-in from senior colleagues is paramount in staff engagement, as is diversity of thought from key stakeholders who can help you drive home your objectives internally.

"Anybody on this call who works in the social impact space will understand the pitfalls when you don’t bring your internal stakeholders along, when you don’t have the support of your comms team. It’s hard if you think a partnership is valuable but haven’t brought your other teams in to consider it and how aligned it is with the business."

Sara Brophy from Experian

3. Understand the barriers and tweak your approach

Oliver Wyman has been a Strategic Pro Bono Partner since 2021.

Polly Rogers, Engagement Manager at Oliver Wyman, said the success of delivering a successful corporate volunteering programme relies heavily on understanding how people work, appreciating that there may be very busy periods of the year when teams have no capacity to add to their workloads. Availability can be a significant barrier for internal engagement with CSR initiatives, leading to disengagement. Most importantly, we need to be curious as to why something might not be working.

"Appreciate that there may be periods of the year when teams have limited capacity. Lean into your different employee groups and understand when the busy times are for them."

Polly Rogers from Oliver Wyman

4. Communicate the value

Since 2018, Vanquis Banking Group has been an important strategic partner of National Numeracy, passionately helping to build numeracy skills and opportunities for communities in need across the UK.

Cathy Prior, Social Impact Manager, explained CSR was interwoven into objectives at Vanquis, which is “helping with the middle management struggle”.

Making it an objective ensures that colleagues make CSR a priority. Cathy also recommended working closely with employee networks and reframing how you speak to colleagues about getting involved in CSR, highlighting the potential personal benefits.

"Find a hook that gets them in. The ‘what’s in it for me?’ scenario. One thing we did during COVID-19 was to work with National Numeracy to put on a workshop called ‘Helping Your Child Love Maths’. In doing that we engaged with parents who may have been struggling and started them on their own maths journey."

Cathy Prior from Vanquis Banking Group

National Numeracy currently works with partners across various sectors. Our approach is tailored accordingly, ensuring business goals are met.

If you are interested in working together, reach out to [email protected].

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To hear more from our expert panel, watch the full webinar: