Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Christine Arena Interviews Andy Mercy, Founder/CEO, AngelPoints

Earlier this month, Christine Arena for 3BL TV interviewed AngelPoints Founder and CEO, Andy Mercy:

Key take aways from the interview are:
  • Employee engagement is the bridge between what companies say they want, and what they do in reality. An engaged workforce is the difference between a CSR and sustainability program that transforms a company, and a CSR and sustainability program that green washes a company.
  • Companies can engage their employees better by increasing transparency and tying their community activities to their business strategy. Let employees connect the dots between how your company is serving its customers, and how it is serving its community.
  • CSR and sustainability initiatives are intimately connected. Taking action to reduce your carbon footprint by biking to work will keep you healthy, which in turn lowers your company's healthcare costs.
  • What doesn't get measured, doesn't get managed. Make sure you meticulously measure your volunteer programs, philanthropy activities, and sustainability initiatives so you know what impact you have on your company, community, and environment.

In the words of CEO of Campbells Soup, "to get it right in the marketplace, you need to first get it right in the workplace." To that end, he tracks two metrics to gauge success: share holder return and employee engagement. The term "employee engagement" is often used loosely, but in this case it is determined consistently from the Q12 Gallop Poll. If you want to measure success, you'll want to know how you can engage employees better. One sure fire way to do so is to increase transparency...there can't be a disconnect between what employees do day to day, and what green teams are involved in. Create activities to get employees involved in volunteering, and let the employees connect the dots between their activities volunteering and the broader company strategy.

Sustainability initiatives can go a long way in helping to engage employees. Broadly speaking, sustainability encompasses reducing your carbon footprint, conserving/preserving resources, health and wellness, and connecting with others. Make sure to clearly define the fact that volunteering is a way of connecting with others, and so is intrinsically connected to sustainability. For example, riding your bike to work reduces your carbon footprint, and is good for your health, which in turn lowers a company's health care costs. Another example is paper reduction through double sided printing and reducing the amount of material you print saves money across the organization, and is good for the environment as well.

What doesn't get measured doesn't get managed. Companies that embrace rigorous measurement have been able to achieve above and beyond an improvement in their department; they have achieved a transformation in their company and community. With an increase in the availability of measurement tools, employees across the board are being held accountable for measuring results. CSR and Sustainability teams have been granted some leniency in this regard, but that leniency will not last as CSR becomes a central part of a company's strategy. Make sure your company's CSR and sustainability programs are in good shape by being in open communication with members of your HR and Marketing teams. Make sure to explore all avenues to connect CSR and sustainability programs to improvements in retention, increased ability to attract top talent, and leadership development...your friends in HR will appreciate it. Also make sure to connect with your peers in marketing, since much of what you do can be leveraged for cause marketing efforts and PR.

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