When CSCers in India give up their weekends to volunteer for local community projects, I very much doubt that winning an award for their efforts is front of mind. Whether it’s mentoring young people, setting up computer labs in rural villages, planting trees or getting involved with blood donation drives, people volunteer because they care and want to give something back.
Their efforts have been recognized with CSC India winning the Amity Award for Excellence in CR four years in a row and being named first runner up in the most recent awards. Chatting to my colleague Sridevi Mogilineedi, who manages the CR program in India from her base in Chennai, I asked her what difference she thought winning an award made to the CSCers.
“People are very happy to spend their weekends involving themselves in community activities organized by the local CR team,” Sridevi said, “some even bring along their own children to help out and learn more about what we do within the projects, but you’re right, they don’t do it to win awards.”
“We have often seen great friendship develop among employees through the CR initiatives, where like minded people work to a common goal. It’s been one of our key employee engagement programs as well,” adds Vaishali Banerjee , Employee Engagement Lead (India).
With 600 hours already logged for student mentoring alone, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of goodwill for volunteering projects, but I was interested in finding out what colleagues thought of the award – was it a motivator or just a nice to have?
Malati Vasudeva, who leads the Talent and Diversity for India & AMEA said, “Our employees have been the driving force behind many of the programs, and hence achievements in the form of such awards are very self-fulfilling and motivating . But recognition like this also helps to align the employee’s values with the organizational vision – and it also helps to enhance CSC’s brand which further build on the pride to belong to such an organization.”
Recognition as a key motivator is now established business wisdom. When exploring what really motivates employees, McKinsey found that three non-financial incentives, praise and recognition from immediate managers, attention from leaders and opportunities to lead projects, were even more effective motivators than the three highest-rated financial incentives which included increased salary, bonuses and stock.
So awards, bringing as they do recognition from immediate managers and leaders alike, are indeed powerful employee motivators. But as Malati observed , the CR projects themselves can also deliver the third strand – the opportunity for people to lead projects. “We know that the opportunity to lead projects can be motivating – it can stretch and challenge people in new ways, giving them new responsibilities, driving skills and boosting self-confidence. Providing such opportunities within volunteering projects benefits all those involved: the individual employee, the community project and the company,” she said.
So next time that award submission threatens to fall off the bottom of the to-do list, it may be worth remembering that they can not only support the brand, but also help to engage and inspire your teams.