The fuzzy season is upon us once again; bringing with it a parade of wildly misguided facial faux pas that wouldn’t look out of place in a prison yard. Yes, it’s Movember again, that magical time of year when looking like a criminal is actively encouraged.
Movember began in Australia in 2003 with just 30 ‘Mo Bros’, who took it upon themselves to ditch their razors in an attempt to raise awareness about important men’s health issues. In the ensuing decade or so, their cause has become a phenomenon, and one that has resonated particularly strongly in workplaces the world over.
So what is it about the prospect of flourishing facial follicles that gets employees so excited? Well first of all, it’s fun. Many other causes tend to be mired in a sense of somberness, calling for a demure sort of reverence that does little to encourage any sense of engagement.
But Movember is made for millennials, carefully crafted to drive conversation through action, interaction and collaboration. In short, it does for businesses what countless retreats, staff lunches and wellness days could only hope to achieve – it rallies people to band together in aid of a common cause.
Not only that, but it facilitates the types of open, honest conversations that bring employees closer together, allowing them to air their views on the things that really matter. This injects a much-needed dose of humanity into the workplace, transcending deadlines, spreadsheets and bottom lines and ultimately demonstrating the fact that we are all simply people at the end of the day.
All of this is well and good, but is it enough? After all, November lasts but 30 days. Luckily, mo’s aren’t all that matter to your employees. Studies show that today’s workers – and millennials in particular – are passionate about all kinds of cause work, and often make critical career decisions based on their employer’s willingness to devote resources to charitable endeavors.
Your employees want to be part of a business whose ideals they can believe in, and that doesn’t necessarily need to involve any form of facial topiary. So how can you use causes to effectively drive engagement throughout the year? Here are some tips to get you started:
GET YOUR EMPLOYEES INVOLVED IN THE DECISION
Looking to get behind a cause that’ll resonate within your ranks? Then get your employees in on the act. By finding out which types of causes your employees hold most dear and encouraging them to be part of the decision making process, you’ll communicate the fact that you value their opinions, and ensure widespread uptake and enthusiasm for the resulting initiative.
MIX IT UP
So you’ve established that your employees are passionate about the welfare of underprivileged children, and have elected to sponsor a nearby shelter. So what next? How do you keep employees engaged all year round? The key to success lies in variety. Of course it’s important to afford your employees hands-on access to the project, and to allow them to give back in their own unique ways. But that charitable spirit doesn’t need to remain off-site. Back at the office, there are plenty of creative techniques you can use to keep your cause top of mind.
Stir up the competitive spirit by incentivizing staff to give of their time, stage an intra-company table tennis tournament to raise funds or roll-out various campaigns designed to highlight certain specific shelter needs. Ultimately, your aim is to highlight the cause and get people talking, so don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun in the process.
BUILD BRAND AMBASSADORSHIP
Causes afford you the opportunity to give your employees room to grow, learn and develop as leaders. Empower your workforce by setting up internal committees, which are tasked with finding new and creative ways to generate interest and support for your chosen cause. That way, you’ll not only demonstrate that you trust your employees to make the right decisions, but you’ll also quickly see who takes initiative, who works well under pressure and which team members collaborate most successfully, something that might well inform subsequent staffing decisions.