Chad T. Ahern
HR to Talent Management - Engagement
So far we've covered acknowledgment, reporting impact, and recognition. The fourth a final pillar from donor relations that can help transform human resources is engagement. For donor relations professionals, the goal is to bring donors as close to the institution as possible so they A) feel good about their philanthropy and B) consider making additional future gifts. It is for this reason that donor relations professionals focus on three activities - information, access, and experiences. In donor relations these activities might look like:
Information: providing an "insiders" glimpse on an upcoming initiative, or special press release ahead of publication. This is particularly relevant if you can relay information about how a donor's gift is about to be used.
Access: Some institutions provide special access to organizational leadership based on giving or volunteer involvement levels. Donors or volunteers might also be granted special access to those benefiting from their generosity.
Experiences: This is a more recent addition to donor relations, but its about providing experiences that are unique to your institution or organization. For a an outdoor-focused organization (e.g. the Audobon Society) it might involve a special hike in a new bird preserve. For a college or university, you might invite donors to come back and be a student for a day...maybe even have the class led by a student.
Often these three types of activities can be combined. You might offer a special experience led by a organizational leader (access + experience). Or an "insiders" newsletter (access + information). So what does this mean for transforming human resources? If you're looking to further engage your employees (or future employees) with the organization consider how your human resources staff could facilitate some of the following:
Information: How readily do you share the current state of your company? Do your front-line employees know and understand your company's financials? Your industry's business climate? Or how you compare to what your direct competitors are doing? King Arthur Flour here in Vermont is known for its employee ownership and its tradition of sharing financial information with everyone from the newest baker to the C-suite. Could you do the same? Would it help your employees better understand the company's challenges and opportunities?
Access: I get it, C-suite types are often busy trying to keep the company moving forward, and discerning and implementing the company's vision. But what if your company's leaders regularly took time to listen, and learn, from those a little lower on the org chart? What perspectives can you share that might help employees understand your actions? What can the leaders potentially learn from those doing the day-to-day work?
Experiences: Forget the junkets and the expensive off-site planning weeks. Instead, what unique experience(s) can you offer employees that might educate them about the organization, and give them a unique emotional touch point(s) to take into their workday? Think about different experiences for new employees, or high performers, or those with some longevity.
One last thought on all of these suggestions... use these touch points to reinforce the types of engagement you want to encourage.
How have you used information, access, and special experiences to keep and engage your company's talent?
How will you use the combination of acknowledgment, impact reporting, recognition, and engagement to transform human resources into a full-fledged, human-focused, talent management operation?