Working together to make global rollout go off without a hitch
The global program manager of a leading technology company laughs as she describes the day they rolled out Spark, Benevity’s award-winning employee engagement solution. After years of searching for a new software partner and months of preparing to launch, she was just waiting for what she called “the onslaught of feedback.”
But there was nothing. “I'd sort of cleared my calendar and I was just waiting for it,” she recalls. “I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting.” And? “There was no onslaught.”
ENGAGING EMPLOYEES WHERE THEY LIVE AND WORK
As a global leader in advanced technological innovations, the company develops solutions that people around the world use every day, impacting the way we live and work. It’s no wonder that their corporate purpose initiatives are also aimed at making a difference around the world and in the communities where their own people live and work.
“As part of our values as a company, we want to be a stakeholder in our neighborhoods and places where we are. It's about improving and strengthening our communities.” – Global program manager
The company’s program was created to engage their employees in meaningful community involvement, helping them feel connected to the company, proud of what it stands for and good about giving back. Their highly localized corporate purpose initiatives include workplace giving and matching, volunteering, donation drives and disaster relief.
“We want all of our global employees to feel inspired and empowered to be leaders in their communities, finding ways to get involved that connect to their personal passions,” explains the program manager.
SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION
Because their program was not fulfilling its considerable potential, the time had come for the company to search for a new technology partner. “Our previous platforms didn’t perform as well as we would have liked,” the program manager recalls, “particularly in putting the Xs and Os together, getting data and reporting, providing a simple user experience and making things easy for charities.”
The company had several considerations when choosing a new partner to power their employee engagement program:
Intuitive user experience
First and foremost, an intuitive and efficient user experience was a must.
“Ease of use was a pain point with previous systems we worked with in the past. With one system, it took too many clicks to complete simple transactions, and people were very frustrated with that,” she shares. Furthermore, the workflow didn’t make sense to their employees. And, “for a population of engineers, there is nothing worse than bad workflow!”
The selected platform would have to offer a simple, integrated tool that would meet the high expectations of employees of an innovative technology company.
“We wanted a platform that makes donating, signing up to volunteer, tracking time and requesting a match really easy so employees can do the things they want — spending as much or as little time as they like — and feel connected and informed about getting involved in their communities and the causes they’re passionate about.”
A transparent donation system
Because giving time and money is deeply personal, the company knew they needed a technology partner that their people could trust when making donations, requesting a match or tracking volunteer time. “Users need to have a high degree of confidence in how the program is being administered and how funds are being transacted,” the program manager explains.
“It’s really important that they’re confident their funds are going to the charity of their choice, as they expected and intended.” Technology hiccups with previous vendors led to a decline in their tech-savvy employees engaging with their program, making a seamless and transparent system a must-have on their list of new partner requirements.
Equivalent experience for employees everywhere
As a multinational company with employees around the world who are invested in their local and global communities, they needed a platform that could offer the same engagement experience to all of their people, regardless of location. And while their volunteering program had long been global, they had been working on making their matching gift program available to employees outside of the U.S. for a few years.
“We have a global population that we’re trying to engage,” she explains.
“So, we needed a platform that would ensure all of our employees feel like our program is for them. We wanted to create a sense that you can be equally involved regardless of where you sit in the world.”
Streamlined administration for their small team
Reducing administrative burden was another key consideration. With the company’s CSR program being administered by a small team, it was crucial that their technology partner would enable them to leverage their time and effort to get maximum impact from the programs. In addition, the team wanted a partner they could work with to build their program.
“There’s a lot of magic that goes into executing the program, particularly on a global scale,” says their program manager, hinting at the complexity of global engagement programs, “so we needed a partner who could support us.”
“We're a small team, so it's really important that we leverage all the time and effort that we put into the program to get maximum impact.” - Global program manager
Reporting was a big part of the administrative consideration. “We need to always be able to tell our story back to our employees, our stakeholders and our leadership, so we needed a platform that would give us the right data to share our story internally and externally.” The new partner’s reporting solution would need to work in a way that didn’t create any extra burden for users or the program team.
Cost-effective and efficient for nonprofits
Finally, the new solution would have to make it efficient and cost effective for nonprofits to receive and process donations.
“Our relationship with our community partners — our nonprofits and charities around the world — is really top of mind for us,” shares global the program manager. “We want to support them in a way that doesn't actually add work for them, or make it difficult for them to process a donation.”
After considering their options, the company decided that Benevity’s user-friendly employee engagement solution was the best choice to meet their needs now and as they grow their program in the future. While their team had some concerns about the effort involved in switching to a new platform, those were put to rest during the migration process to Benevity.
“We felt very supported. We were in it together, we were partners, and that eased a lot of the pain that goes along with this kind of transition,” shares the program manager. As a result, the migration from their old platform was as painless as possible.
“We had a minimal amount of downtime while we were making the transition between the systems, and we launched on time, on budget and on quality, as expected.”
Throughout the experience, the small team heading up the program's transition worked closely with their Benevity Client Success Manager, Edmond. They felt that had a good understanding of what was going to happen at launch and when it would happen. But, having experienced change management issues before, the program manager shared that there was a still a part of her that expected problems. When the anticipated employee calls and emails didn’t materialize, she thought, “What's happening here? Is it not live or something?”
As it turns out, Benevity’s platform was working exactly as expected and the company’s employees were responding very positively to the new technology. Her concern quickly turned to relief, then excitement.
“I was absolutely thrilled that, on day one, we weren’t facing an onslaught of questions, concerns and emails.” Employees were able to log in to their accounts, see their donation histories, and start making new donations and volunteer commitments — much to the program manager’s relief.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT REINVIGORATED
When the company’s CSR program re-launched with Benevity, the intuitive interface, transparent donation processes and straightforward reporting helped reinvigorate employees’ interest in giving and volunteering to support their communities.
“Users appreciate that they can track their own activity and understand the status of their donations and matching gift requests within the software,” the program manager explains. She reports that user feedback was usually along the lines of, “This is easy to use. The design is fresh and modern. The workflows make sense."
The company’s hopes for their program have also been coming to fruition.
“We are seeing greater engagement and greater participation on a variety of metrics, and the feedback about the platform has been so positive that folks really see this now as a powerful resource.” Participation in the program is up— and so are donations, matching gifts, and volunteer hours.
“We're definitely seeing higher engagement from a financial point of view: dollars being donated in the system, matching gift requests,” the program manager declares. “And more people are logging volunteer time, because it's easy and it actually works.”
The company’s partnership with Benevity enabled them to finally roll out the full program to all employees globally.
“It feels really good to know that all our engagement offerings are now available for everyone across our company. Employees feel included in the program in a whole different way. Folks understand the system — they can follow along and it makes sense in a local context, regardless of where they sit in the world.”
The global program manager has also heard high praise from her network of “power users” — people on the ground in local offices who are really engaged with the program.
“Those folks have responded very positively,” she reports. “Across the board, we're seeing more engagement, more charities supported globally, and all of our global employees are now able to participate in our matching gift program.”
Equally important, the global program manager and her team enjoy working with the platform.
“I’ve been able to get a whole bunch of my time back. And the good news is that what we imagined is coming true,” she concludes.
“Our program has had unbelievable advancement — especially its impact on the communities where we live and work around the world. Our employees are really proud of their work and what the company stands for, and they feel empowered to support their passions in their neighborhoods on a whole new level.”