Employee Engagement

What Amazon’s Work Culture Tells Us About Employee Disengagement

Ryan Scott CEO Causecast The New York Times’ recent expose of working conditions inside Amazon has set off a tsunami of discussion about how far Corporate America is willing to push employees to excel. The piece describes a dystopian universe where Amazon employees are encouraged to anonymously report on each other through the company’s Big Brother-esque management software; where people are put on notice that their jobs are on the line when they’re distracted by personal crises like cancer or a stillborn child; and steady turnover is characterized as “purposeful Darwinism.” The writers, Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld, interviewed more than 100 Amazon employees as part of their research, and the piece has stirred up so much reaction that it’s since become the most commented upon article in NYT history.

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Another Data Point for Performance Reviews: Employee Volunteering

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

As corporate volunteerism becomes an increasingly important part of the work experience, companies are coming up with new ways to embrace volunteering and tie it to their bottom lines.

One of these innovations is linking performance reviews to volunteering, allowing employees to demonstrate skills and strengths that management might not have otherwise been able to see in action.  Conversely, managers are able to use volunteering opportunities to provide employees with new leadership and job skills that are tough (and expensive) to train for.

While it’s a fairly recent phenomenon to assess an employee’s volunteering performance as a part of an overall job performance review, the companies that do this often find that it increases volunteer participation.

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How to Tell Staff About Your New Employee Giving Program

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

The wrong way:
Email to employees that looks something like this:

“Team:

On behalf of [company name], I’m proud to announce the launch of our new employee volunteer program. We’re working with Causecast to make volunteering easy, so look for opportunities and information on our new online volunteer and giving platform. You’ll be receiving more emails that walk you through our new program, step by step, and you can always contact Linda in HR with any questions.

We hope to see you at our Done in a Day event next Saturday, in service for the local food bank. As you know, this nonprofit is a special one to me, and your participation means a lot to me and the rest of senior management.

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‘Tis the Season for Giving Campaigns and Matching Gifts

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

The holidays are here (just about), and that means that seasonal giving campaigns are cranking into high gear. Before you know it, we’ll be bombarded with holiday viral campaigns like Office Max’s popular time-killer, Elf Yourself, and opening earth-conscious holiday e-cards from companies instead of the snail mail kind. Since an increasing percentage of shoppers use mobile platforms to do their holiday shopping, our cell phones will be hit with seasonal promotions that benefit charities, like the ones that Starbucks did for The Global Fund to help fight AIDS in Africa. It’s that time of year when most philanthropic giving transpires, so now is when companies are pulling out all of the stops to grab the attention and charitable dollars of their customers.

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Pro Bono Week: A Time For Skills to Shine

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

What’s so special about pro bono?

According to Taproot, the leading national advocate for pro-bono service, pro bono has been a quiet partner in many of the key social movements in our nation’s last 75 years. Taproot should know; the organization has long been an instrumental player in the pro bono movement. Through award-winning programs, groundbreaking thought leadership and partnerships with companies to develop and scale corporate pro bono programs, Taproot works to engage the nation’s millions of business professionals in applying not just their time, but their skills, in the service of the nation’s nonprofit community.

As a part of its advocacy, Taproot is now the champion of Continue reading →

Your Company is Socially Engaged, But Do Your Employees Even Know?

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

Your Company is Socially Engaged, But Do Your Employees Even Know?

Another year, another grim report on employee engagement. Gallup’s 2013 “State of the Global Workplace Report” reveals that only 13% of employees are engaged at work.

That abysmal number is undoubtedly related to the fact that, according to a different study, only 42% of employees know their organization’s vision, mission, and values. That same report found that management transparency is the top factor when determining employee happiness.

Amongst other business “fails” resulting from this sort of a wide engagement gap, unengaged employees do not create engaged customers.

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Technology Won’t Save the World

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

Sure, an odd headline coming from the CEO of a SAAS (software as a service) company that’s focused on corporate philanthropy. But let me explain why I’ve come to recognize the limits of my first love, technology.

In the beginning, it was a teenage crush. I was a pimply nerd building mainframes and technology was my one true soulmate.

The love affair continued when I founded my first tech start-up, NetCreations, the originator of opt-in email marketing. After I sold NetCreations, I set out to be a philanthropist.

What did that mean, exactly? Mostly writing checks.

Somewhere along the way, it dawned on me that one person bequeathing charities with checks is helpful.

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Becoming a “Full-Brain Thinker”: Why Continuing Education is Important in Leadership Development

Kevin Lynch, Ph.D.
Leadership Executive-in-Residence

Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University

I am a left-brain thinker. I love logical, analytical and objective thought processes. It’s probably no surprise that my background is in accounting and finance. Friends and colleagues don’t usually describe me as intuitive, thoughtful or subjective, all right-brain attributes. Yet, is it possible to be a truly effective leader only using one side of your brain?

I believe the answer is no. In today’s world, leaders are required to wear many hats and deal with highly complex issues. Peter Senge, in his book The Fifth Discipline, talks of developing the art of seeing the forest and the trees.

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Do Your Millennial Employees Have a Future?

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

Recently, I was skimming an article about how company managers can prepare Millennials to take on leadership roles in business.  The piece addressed the looming explosion of Gen Y-ers in the workplace - they’re projected to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025 - and noted that this is a generation with an entrepreneurial bent, with an estimated 70% of young professionals around the world aspiring to be their own boss.  So what, the writer wondered, can business leaders do to make sure that that Millennials (anyone born between 1980 and 2000) are prepared to take the reins of their companies?

What caught my eye was the usual pattern that I notice with almost any article that tackles employee engagement, retention or training.

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5 Ways to Summerize Workplace Philanthropy

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

It’s not just your imagination: summer is getting in the way of getting things done at work. To the tune of a 20 percent drop in workplace productivity, according to a Captivate Network study, with projects taking 13 percent longer to complete and workers becoming a whopping 45 percent more distracted.

Holy guacamole! (Preferably served poolside, with extra chips, thank you). Should we all just surrender to the sunshine and rendezvous back in September?

If only. But how to corral all those wandering minds and keep them focused on work during the lazy days of summer?
Simple: ratchet up the engagement opportunities related to the larger purpose of their work. Now’s the time to get extra creative with your Continue reading →