By: Dilip Khullar | Director at Estabona Management | May 28th, 2015

Heekyung Jo Min, Executive Vice President of CJ Group's shared value management department, addresses the Shared Value Leadership Summit. Ms. Min will speak at this year's event in May in New York: Register by May 5th.

Increasingly employees are not just motivated by corporate performance or compensation but by purpose. Today’s business leaders confront this reality on a daily basis. We explored the employee engagement issue at the recent Shared Value Leadership Summit. Throughout our lab session it became clear from the experts present – representing a broad cross-section of industries and geographies – that shared value leadership has a fundamental impact on both employee engagement and business performance.

Working groups in the session explored strategies for internal shared value advocacy at all levels in an organization with the following objectives:

  • Provide new models of employee engagement and leadership challenges.
  • Share best practices and aspirations.
  • Develop specific tools that will assist in employee engagement by providing real world examples of innovative internal advocacy programs.

Here are the outcomes of that conversation:

Practical Models of Engagement

The Pro Bono model, providing cross border advice, was outlined as a successful example of employee engagement whereby diverse groups within companies such as IBM or SAP provide cross border consultancy advice to foreign governments. The success of this model is apparent with an estimated 32 companies applying it in 2014 versus approximately 4 companies in 2006. Furthermore the model has been adapted at a domestic level by corporations such as JP Morgan Chase implementing the Detroit Services Corps with a USD 100 million grant and the Pepsi Corporate Program also in Detroit.

John Deere & Company has implemented a longer term model in rural India known as “JIRD” (Joint Initiative for Rural Development). The initiative started in 2007 and has been a successful source of employee motivation in the company being based on a continuous program of assistance.


Expert Perspectives

Although a number of models exist, two fundamental issues were addressed by the industry experts: How do we create enabling environments for intrapreneurs of shared value in their organizations? And how should the company educate management to recognize the value created by shared value projects?

Heekyung Jo Min of the CJ Group of Korea presented a top down approach based on a strong leadership vision which integrated shared value into the mission statement of the company. From the company´s experience it became evident that for the initiative to be successful the top down approach needed to be balanced by a granular bottom up approach through extensive employee engagement.

Western Union, represented by Talya Bosch (pictured at left), based their model by taking into account an employee’s life cycle in the company. Shared value engagement was supported by establishing clear goals with a number of enabling tools ranging from compensation (typically 30% of annual salary is based on shared value initiatives), leadership summits, idea competitions, shared value summits and the systematic engagement of stakeholders. Western Union´s experience had gone from “by default” to “by design” under the current CEO.

Mark Thain of Barclays outlined an imaginative initiative based on a £25-million Social Innovation Fund. One of the principal objectives of the fund is to facilitate the role of intrapreneurs who are passionate and purpose led. The strategy is to surface these individuals and support and fund their projects. “Come to work and not leave personal values at the door,” he says. The Intrapreneur Lab is now operating in five different geographical regions.

Stan Litow of IBM emphasized the company’s values from its start. These were expressed in initiatives such as assisting the government in creating Social Security in the 1920´s, supporting computer science as an academic discipline in the 1940´s, space programs in the 1960´s to more recent initiatives such as the Smarter Cities Challenge and cross border Pro Bono programs. Two types of employee engagement objectives exist at IBM. Developing talent within the company by a series of engagement programs such as those identified above and making financial contributions to social programs where any employee in the company has contributed more than 40 hours of his own free time to a social program. IBM uses a number of metrics to measure the success of its initiatives ranging from recruitment/employee retention, developing new technical solutions and in some cases patents, new business leads and company brand awareness.


Lessons Learned

  • Mapping an employee’s career journey in your organization can help identify opportunities for engagement and enhance the success of shared value initiatives.
  • Language is important. Purposeful global engagement is about doing something with someone. It’s about mutual benefit.
  • Define where in the corporate structure the shared value initiative should sit i.e. which business leader owns it? It could be the corporate strategy office for example?
  • Frequently the CEO gets it but not all business leaders are convinced. A systematic individualized approach is therefore necessary.
  • Passionate individuals need to be enabled with shared value being seen as part of their day job joining up top down inspiration with bottom up aspirations.
  • Supporting intrapreneurs with seed funding is key but it can be a challenge to drive the initiative to create real value for the business.
  • Enabling employees to get involved with the company’s clients social initiatives would be a way forward to foster co-creation.

This was a report-out from our affiliate Estabona Management from the Leadership and Employee Engagement Lab at the 2015 Shared Value Leadership Summit: View Event Recap.

Mark Thain of Barclays speaks on his company's Intrapreneur Lab:

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