The following mini "caselets" offer just a few examples of how organizations are creating impact opportunities for their employees. To learn more about what impact jobs can mean for employee job satisfaction and engagement, check out Net Impact's Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012.
PepsiCo: Leadership Through Impact
In 2011, a small group of PepsiCo employees started PepsiCorps, a “leadership development program for the future.” PepsiCorps sends a select group of employees from across the company to work on a short-term project in a developing country, embodying PepsiCo’s mission of “Performance with Purpose.” The structured leadership program helps high-potential employees leverage their talent for a project completely removed from their normal day job – such as helping a Ghanaian village gain better access to clean water. And the participants also benefit, returning home with a global perspective, new leadership skills, a “can do” attitude, and a network of teammates. In turn, the program enables PepsiCo to cultivate and train emerging leaders, enhance employee morale and loyalty, and attract new employees who are excited about PepsiCo’s corporate mission.
3m: Tapping employee innovation
3M introduced their “3P” (Pollution Prevention Pays) initiative in 1975, years before sustainability was the buzzword that it is today. Employees at every level are encouraged to work on projects that reduce waste at 3M facilities across the globe, carrying the projects from conception to execution. The initiative has saved 3M nearly $1.4 billion and eliminated more than three billion pounds of waste to date, all because of the 9,300 projects that the “fourth P” (their people) have implemented. The impact of these projects is felt across the world: a team in 3M’s Cottage Grove, Minnesota facility developed a collapsible, reusable steel crate to replace the multi-piece wooden crate that was discarded after a single use when it reached its destination in Germany. The team reduced the company’s environmental footprint with more than $100,000 in savings and the elimination of 315 tons of solid waste in just the first year. Each project is reviewed and formally recognized by the 3P Coordinating Committee, comprised of representatives from engineering to health and safety.
KaBoom!: A Culture That Embodies Mission
The national nonprofit KaBOOM! prides itself on its employees – talented, committed, risk-taking, energetic folks called Boomers that share a commitment to service, a passion for children and communities, and an uncanny zest for life, work, and play. Their organizational culture puts their core values into practice for their employees with several distinct practices. KaBOOM! advocates showing appreciation and recognition for fellow Boomers in a concrete way – they call this practice “Sharing Sand.” When Boomers start, they receive a sandbox bucket and shovel notepad to write sincere notes of appreciation to others. Boomers are encouraged to share sand often, blocking time in their day to recognize their colleagues. This recognition helps colleagues connect their daily work to the organization’s mission in a constant and tangible way.
Microsoft: Making a Net Impact From Within
Net Impact chapters aren’t just for students and professionals in large cities – they can be for companies as well. In 2011, Microsoft and Net Impact launched the first corporate chapter in Redmond, Washington to enhance Microsoft’s sustainability goals, give employees a platform to lead citizenship and CSR initiatives, and increase cross-company collaboration. The chapter hosts a wide variety of events, from a discussion on human trafficking and digital crimes with the CEO of the Polaris Project to a panel on Microsoft’s education efforts in Washington State. Chapter members also attended the 2011 Net Impact Conference in Portland, where chapter leaders hosted a session called “Bringing Net Impact to Your Company.”