HomeBlogThe 4 P’s driving innovation in employee engagement

The 4 P’s driving innovation in employee engagement

Passionate, Personal, Purposeful Partnerships

With disengaged staff costing Australian businesses $33 billion annually, the case for businesses to invest in dedicated employee engagement programs is clear.
Last week in Sydney, United Way Australia brought together industry leaders to share their thoughts on how to better support employee engagement for the good of the company, and the community. Here we share their insights.

1. Make it purposeful

Giving employees a strong sense of purpose is becoming increasingly more important, especially for millennials.” Ava Lawler, Managing Director, Weber Shandwick.

In haste to encourage employees to engage, many companies offer staff a plethora of causes to get involved with, and are surprised when these opportunities are met with disinterest. The reality is that many employees simply don’t know where to start, and don’t have a clear idea of how they’ll be contributing to change. That’s why for-purpose organisations and businesses agree that having a shared goal and strategy in place trumps the smorgasbord approach.

The more narrowly you define the opportunity, the better you do because people want to know exactly what they are going to get.” Jacqui Jones, CEO, Australian Business and Community Network.

2. Make it personal

Founding member of the Macquarie Park Business-Community Partnership, Macquarie Telecom CEO David Tudehope attributes much of the initiative’s success to the ability of staff to directly meet and engage with the local community. Through structured volunteering opportunities, employees from different businesses can come together in support of local children and youth, forming deep connections and building a greater sense of community. These personal connections have not only led to increased levels of employee satisfaction but yielded higher rates of giving led by inspired workplace champions who could see first-hand the impact this work has.

We found that staff like to meet and engage with people from the same community (neighbours) through volunteering.” David Tudehope, CEO, Macquarie Telecom

3. Make it passionate

When employees at software development company Atlassian were first given the opportunity to put their time and talents to a good cause, take-up was surprisingly low. The reason? While the causes were undoubtedly “good”, they failed to inspire and engage staff. But when staff had the opportunity to informally meet with 15 charities who each pitched their unique challenges, there was a 95% uptake in skilled volunteering rates. Meeting Atlassian staff at their point of interest – technology – and challenging them to develop innovative solutions piqued their passion and commitment.

4. Make it a partnership

The strongest employee engagement programs are built on genuine partnerships, where both the company and NGO have a shared vision of what they are working to achieve together, and can readily articulate this to staff.

For businesses, this means being clear on what you want to achieve, what you want out of your employees and how this aligns to your core business. It also means speaking with potential partners and NGOs experienced in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to develop a strategy that offers meaningful engagement pathways to maximise staff involvement beyond the usual suspects, ensuring appropriate resource allocation, and, critically, establishing impact measurement and reporting back to staff.

Find out more about how your employee engagement strategy could better support your business and community – contact our experienced Partnerships Team today.


  1. Onwell Msomi says:

    great insights guys, thank you very much!


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