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employee engagement tips

10 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Engaged employees can be a fantastic asset to your company. They work harder, are more passionate about their jobs, go the extra mile, and feel connected to the company and its mission.

Unfortunately, most employees are not engaged at work.

A recent Gallup poll found that only 30% of American workers feel engaged at their jobs.

Increasing that percentage, even by a small margin, can help boost company productivity, overall happiness levels, and can strengthen the bonds between workers and their employers.

Here are ten ways to increase employee engagement!

1. Start at the top

If the managers and other leaders in your company don’t feel engaged, there’s a strong possibility that a majority of your employees won’t, either.

Making sure that everyone from the top leadership down feels like their job is worthwhile and important will create a culture of engagement, one that is critical for helping employees on every rung of the corporate ladder reach their full potential.

2. Create a positive work environment

Employee engagement will suffer if workers don’t look forward to coming to the office every day. Of course, not every company can implement comfortable beanbag chairs and lay out the ultimate red carpet for its employees. You can, however, create a friendly environment, one that emphasizes teamwork and camaraderie amongst managers and employees.

Making sure that workers feel at home and comfortable in their workspace is a key component to helping them feel more engaged.

3. Set clear goals and expectations

If employees are unsure about what direction the company is heading, they’re more likely to check out and stay disengaged. Keeping focused goals in the forefront of your mind as well as in the minds of your staff will help them feel connected to the company and will help boost employee engagement.

Employees want to know that the work they’re doing matters. Whether you’re selling paper products or building playgrounds, reinforce the idea that your company is doing something worthwhile. Employees will feel motivated and connected to each other as well as the company as a whole.

4. Foster a culture of corporate philanthropy

Employees want to feel a connection to the companies that they work for. If a company takes an interest in the causes that employees care about, workers are more likely to feel more engaged.

You can create an environment of corporate philanthropy by:

  • Creating a matching gift program. When employees give to nonprofit organizations, matching gift programs enable employers to contribute the same amount to the nonprofit. Employees will know that the company they work for supports them and the causes that they care about if their donations are matched.

Discover how matching gifts positively impact employee engagement.

  • Encouraging volunteerism. If you know that employees regularly donate their money or time to a nonprofit, help cultivate their relationship with that organization. Employees are proud to work for a company that has a shared investment in the community. Helping employees volunteer either individually or in groups and rewarding that volunteerism with volunteer grants can be a great way to connect with employees and keep them engaged.

Learn more about using volunteer grants to boost employee engagement.

  • Recognizing and praising employees who donate to nonprofit organizations. Employees will feel connected and engaged if you reward them for their charitable donations. Additionally, they’re more likely to continue to give to those organizations if they feel supported by their employers. Encouraging nonprofit giving is a fantastic way to help your employees feel connected to the company they work for and the causes they’re passionate about.

Find out how corporate philanthropy can help employee engagement.

5. Distribute employee engagement surveys

It’s difficult to know what employees enjoy and dislike about working in a company. However, distributing comprehensive employee engagement surveys on a regular basis, whether monthly, quarterly, or yearly, can help you assess what you’re doing right and what could use improvement.

If you detect problems, talk to employees about their concerns. Maintaining an open dialogue will help assuage some issues before they become major problems.

Check out these ways to create an effective employee engagement survey.

6. Encourage individual growth

Employees feel engaged when their employers are invested in them. Encouraging employee growth and providing opportunities to develop their skills either through training or by taking on bigger projects will ensure that employees feel connected and engaged in the workplace.

If workers feel that there is no room to grow individually and professionally, they will either leave the company or become disengaged as soon as they walk in the door every morning. You can avoid these problems simply by helping your employees reach their full potential.

7. Provide feedback – good and bad

If you don’t let your employees know how they’re performing, they will assume that you don’t have a vested interest in them or the work they’re doing. This can lead to disengagement and an apathetic attitude about work.

If an employee does well on a particular assignment, let him or her know that you appreciate the hard work and dedication.

Additionally, if an employee seems to be disconnected and distant and hasn’t been performing up to standards, have a conversation with him or her. The reasons for disengagement could vary, but having a candid exchange can help you determine the best way to help the employee reach his or her full potential.

8. Remember that employees are people, not machines

While productivity and meeting quotas are important, keep in mind that your employees can only do so much. They have lives outside of work that already demand a lot from them. Don’t overburden your workers with more than they can take.

Additionally, allow employees to have regular breaks and time to recharge. Taking short breaks throughout the day can help boost productivity and creativity.

9. Be transparent

Employees shouldn’t feel like they’re in the dark when it comes to the inner workings of your company. Naturally, there are certain things that have to remain confidential, but sharing information about the company’s next steps and goals as well as any news will help employees feel connected and in the know.

10. Encourage collaboration

Allowing employees to regularly work in teams and groups instead of on their own can not only help cultivate friendship and trust among them, but it will also boost productivity and engagement. When employees feel like they are part of a team, they are more likely to work harder and enjoy the work that they do.

Learn more about employee engagement best practices.

Boosting employee engagement doesn’t have to be complex. By combining these ten tips and finding out which ones work best for your company, you’ll be able to retain more employees, keep your current employees happy and content, and increase productivity.

Learn more about the importance of employee engagement.

Matching Gift Acknowledgement

Retain Matching Gift Donors: The Cheat-Sheet (+Examples)

Nonprofits have all recognized the need to thank their donors for the kind support. But is your organization taking the time to thank individuals who submit matching gift requests? Matching gifts are often an overlooked area in fundraising in general, and in donor recognition especially.

Nonprofits thank their donors with the knowledge that a little recognition can go a long way when it comes time for donations the next year. The same applies for matching gifts. If you acknowledge a matching gift, you increase the likelihood of that donor submitting a matching gift in the future.

Acknowledge Your Matching Gift Donors

There are several strategies used to thank donors for their donations all designed around showing your donors that you appreciate their matching gifts.

Check out the following list of ways to acknowledge a matching gift request.

Acknowledgment Letters and Postcards

Many nonprofits use Thank You or Acknowledgment letters to recognize their donors when they make a donation. If the donor submitted the matching gift form at the same time as their donation simply modify the letter you were originally going to send to include a message about their matching gift.

If the matching gift form is submitted by the donor after the donation acknowledgment goes out you’ll want to additionally acknowledge the receipt of the matching gift form. Not only do donors want to know that the form is being processed but it’s an additional opportunity to create a experience without asking for another monetary donation.

Similar to acknowledgement letters, postcards are an effective way to say thanks to donors for submitting a matching gift and can be very cost effective. Here’s a sample matching gift postcard sent out after the matching gift check has actually been received by the organization (often many months after the match was initially submitted).

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Front Side)

Matching Gift Postcard

 

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Back Side)

Matching Gift Postcard Thank You

Email Recognition

If changing your pre-formatted donor letters is a hassle or you don’t have the funds to send a separate matching gift acknowledment, why not automate the whole process with a dedicated email for matching gift donors? It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Just a few sentences thanking them for submitting a matching gift.

Sample Matching Gift Thank You Email Sent Out By NC State
Matching Gift Thank You Email

Be sure to highlight how important matching gifts are for the organization!

 

Newsletter Recognition Lists

If your organization sends out a regular newsletter consider creating a section where you list the overall financial impact of matching gifts which you’ve received in the last year.

Summary of Matching Gifts Received and the Impact on the Organization

If you want to take it a step further highlight the companies which provided matching gifts as well as the donors who took the time to initiate the matching gifts. This will publicly acknowledge your donors, while simultaneously increasing awareness of matching gifts among your other donors.

Recognizing Donors on Social Media

Does your organization have Twitter or Facebook accounts? Utilize your social media accounts to promote matching gifts by recognizing individuals by name who submit matching gift requests. Not only does this immediately acknowledge your matching gift donors, but it also alerts all your other followers about employee grant programs.

Sample Facebook Post From Halos of Hope Thanking a Donor for Submitting her Matching Gift

Matching Gift Thank You on Facebook

Save time, raise awareness, and increase donations – all with a single tweet or status update.

Nonprofit Leadership Traits

Three Keys for Private Schools to Raise More Money From Employee Matching Gift Programs

Matching Gift OverviewAre you a K-12 private school looking to raise more money from employee matching gift programs? If so, this article is for you!

A significant percentage of the companies that offer to match employee donations will double donations to K-12 private schools. But just because companies offer these programs, doesn’t mean your school’s parents and donors are following through with their match requests.

There are three keys to increasing the amount of money you’re raising from employee grant programs.

#1 – Know Which Companies Match Gifts to Private Schools

At the most basic level, we see some independent schools suggesting that parents “reach out to their HR departments.” But that’s just the beginning. If your private school wants to increase matching gift revenue, make sure you’re aware of the many companies that match employee donations.

In fact, hundreds of companies in nearly every major city match employee donations. While we can’t list out our entire database, here are a few examples to help your independent school’s staff get a better feel for the standard match programs offered by companies,

Heinz

Heinz-matching-donationsThe H. J. Heinz company will match donations made to a variety of nonprofits including private schools, up to $5,000 a year per employee or up to $1,000 a year from retirees.

And don’t forget about your volunteers! Through the Heinz Cares program, the company offers a $250 grant for an employee volunteers for 50 hours or a $500 grant after 100 volunteer hours.

Read more about the Heinz matching gift program.

Pepsi Cola

pepsi-matching-gift-program-nonprofitsPepsiCo offers a matching gift program where the company matches donations to nearly all nonprofit organizations including independent K-12 schools. Each year Pepsi matches eligible contributions of up to $10,000 per employee, sometimes at a rate as high as 2:1 (effectively tripling donations.)

And don’t forget about grandparents! Pepsi’s employee match program is open to current employees as well as retirees or their surviving spouses and domestic partners.

Read more about the Pepsi matching gift program.

For a few additional examples, check out our article on the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Companies

#2 – Raise Awareness

Unfortunately donors must be the ones to actually initiate the matching gift process. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play a role in prompting donors to think about and submit matching gifts.

We encourage you to take a few minutes to review your fundraising efforts (ex. check your website, email templates, paper letters, etc.) to see where you’re promoting matching gifts. You’ll surely find a number of places where you should be including matching gifts. For instance:

If you have a few minutes look through our matching gift marketing resources for ideas and examples of how other organizations are effectively promoting match programs to parents and donors.

#3 – Make It Easy:

Let’s face it, parents and donors are busy. While they clearly care about your school, between carpool, coaching their kids’ sports teams, PTA duties, and of course their own jobs, time is their most precious asset. So ensure you’re making it as easy as possible for your donors to submit matching gifts.

Providing parents with company specific matching gift information so they don’t need to go to their HR departments can go a long way. This could include information such as:

  • Forms
  • Guidelines
  • Employee eligibility
  • Instructions
  • And anything else your donors need

Consider reaching out to major employers in your area to obtain the appropriate forms or subscribing to a matching gift service (such as Double the Donation).

Promoting Matching Gift Grants at Companies

Corporate Example: Promoting Grant Programs to Employees and Retirees at Texas Instruments

Are you a corporate executive trying to figure out why your well thought out and generous giving programs aren’t being utilized as much you’d like? If so, this article is for you!

Reasons for Low Participation in Employee Giving Programs

Lack of awareness is the most common reason donors and volunteers aren’t submitting grant requests. One of the things we hear from our nonprofit clients’ donors is that they often have no idea their employer offers a matching gift or volunteer grant program until they searched our online database of matching gift companies. Sure, if you’re the HR rep or president of your company’s foundation you’re well aware of the giving programs, but for the average employee, the programs are often very much a mystery.

If you’re one of the companies that offer grants for retirees as well, imagine how unlikely it is that they’re kept in the loop. The key to increasing utilization can be boiled down to increasing awareness and making the submission process easily accessible.

Wide Distribution of Information

Do you want to get a feel for how good (or bad) of a job your company is doing promoting matching gifts? Don’t ask employees “do you know about our matching gift program” because you’ll get very skewed answers, since no one wants to look uninformed. Instead ask a more open ended question such as “what do you know about the corporate giving benefits available to you?”

Texas Instruments is one of the many companies which both matches donations and offers grants for volunteering. While we don’t have a complete picture on how they promote their matching gift and volunteer grant programs, they definitely take a proactive approach!

Below is copy of their alumni / retiree e-Newsletter from last year’s holiday season. Included in it was a section on how retirees can make their charitable gift giving go farther. We’ve also seen similar examples of the company promoting employee giving programs to current employees so it’s clear they’re one of the companies doing a great job of distributing employee giving information.

Newsletter promoting matching gifts and volunteer grants to retirees

We encourage your company to take a look at how you’re communicating matching gift information to employees and retirees.

Easily Accessible Guidelines and Submission Information

While Double the Donation doesn’t administer matching gift programs for corporations, we often hear from confused donors who are trying to submit match requests, but can’t figure out the process. While there are countless examples of companies doing a good job promoting these employee giving programs, let’s stick with Texas Instruments since they make it easy not only for employees, but also retirees.

Accessible Matching Gift and Volunteer Grant Information | Texas Instruments Alumni Website

Through the Texas Instruments Alumni Association, there’s a clear link in the website’s navigation bar to a section called “matching gifts.” Within the page, there are detailed guidelines, a link to submit a match request electronically, and a phone number which retirees can call in case they need assistance. It’s a perfect example of providing employees with the information they need to take advantage of the giving programs they’re eligible for.

General Takeaways:

  • Lack of awareness is the number one reason employees and retirees don’t utilize matching gift and volunteer grant programs.
  • Evaluate where and how you’re promoting matching gifts to determine if you should expand your marketing to employees.
  • Create a page on your company website with guidelines and links to the appropriate matching gift form.

Additional Resources for Corporations

Are you a corporate employee looking for ways to more effectively design and manage your employee giving programs? The following resources and articles may interest you: