Enlist a small group of employees to volunteer in an external, community-related project to demonstrate how collaboration and community can solve real world problems for individual and organizational benefit.
What specific problem(s) is your hack designed to overcome? Why do you believe this is an important problem to address?
Most companies claim to engage employee passions so that communities makes a positive difference, but few know how to do it or attain collaborative benefits. This leaves many employees less engaged and enthused in their jobs. As a result, younger workers, and those that are highly skilled in new technologies, there is a retention problem. How can management recognize this?
How can we address their seeming:
- Lack of understanding how to roll out what they espouse;
- Lack of really believing what they say as public or corporate policy;
- Fear of losing control of people and processes (see Hack in Autonomy: Embracing Autonomy: Small Bets);
- Lack of awareness of any really strong internal communities of passion;
- Fear that the company will become too 'touchy/feely' and lose focus (on stated goals and objectives.);
What are the core components of your solution and how are they interrelated? (Provide as much detail as possible). What, exactly, are you proposing needs to change in traditional management practices or processes?
What company doesn't say it supports community outreach, corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Many now have 'policies' or programs allowing employees to volunteer as individuals or teams and have corporate relationships with larger scale CSR programs. Use existing programs to demonstrate the translation of external communities of passion internally. Some solutions include:
1. Identify, within a part of the business, a group of people that work together in some capacity - can be tightly or peripherally - preferrably cross-function in background and share an existing external outreach passion (e.g., support of the public library, town beautification, city counsel, coaching of a sport, tutoring, church, etc.) as a group or as a majority of the group; Allow this team to schedule into part of their daily worktime (which may overlap with outside work hours) volunteering together at that external outreach. Have team members identify what makes them work well on each specific outreach. For instance, demonstrate how they manage themselves, the workload, the tasks, and relate how they could apply that specific skill to their day jobs.
2. If there is no common theme or outreach as described in #1 above, get an internal team involved in Sparked.com. Have the team identify the areas of passion or interest (e.g, education, health, etc.) and then identify their own diverse set of skills to apply to it. (Sparked.com is also willing to come 'inside' the corporate firewall). Ask the team to identify a few challenges within their interest area and start working on those. Allow them some time during the day to discuss how they can provide value/solutions for the Sparked.com challenge. This is not time consuming. Have them identify what makes team members work well together on a specific challenge, how they manage themselves, the workload, tasks, outcomes, and how they subsequently apply learned skills to their day job.
Start applying the learnings from either 1 or 2 above to a specific project and track the progress!