Wednesday, December 29, 2004

An Opportunity To Credibly Connect Our Employees To Our World

It is not] so remarkable that our greatest joy should come when we are
motivated by concern for others ... In our concern for others, we worry less
about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves, the experience of our own
suffering is less intense.”
His Holiness, The Dalai Lama,“Ethics For A New Millennium”

The tsunami disaster is projected to cost more in human lives than fifty 9/11 tragedies. Out of this horror comes an opportunity for each of us to connect to our world, to project beyond our own day-to-day problems, to put life into perspective.

Likewise, it is an opportunity for every employer to connect their employees to those who have lost their loved ones and who are themselves homeless, hungry, and suffering. Just as workplace satisfaction and happiness is far more dependent on the caring, compassionate, concerned relationships we enjoy there, rather than in how much money we make, our overall well-being is best served by serving others.

Employers including Johnson & Johnson and Federal Express have made significant donations. is soliciting donations from their customers. They are to be congratulated, but even they are missing an opportunity – credibly connecting with their employees by connecting their employees to the effort.

Your company may not be able to donate the $2 million that Johnson and Johnson has committed, but can you take time to educate your employees on what has happened half a world away and let them become a part of the solution? For good or ill, a significant share of the overall relief effort will come not from governments but from humanitarian groups and will be fueled by donations from average citizens who, in watching the scenes of devastation on television, simply feel compelled to help however they can. Employers can and indeed should be a catalyst for this giving opportunity.

The Australian Cricket team is a good example. Their employer, Cricket Australia, offered to match their donation. The team decided to donate their entire recent win -- $17,000, leading to a $34,000 donation.

Still another example is Symbol Technologies, which pledged $150,000 in aid to the American Red Cross, Mercy Corps and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in order to help with the emergency humanitarian relief effort in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and the Indian subcontinent. Symbol's 6,000 global employees have quickly responded to the Company's donation with their own contributions to the Symbol Disaster Relief Fund. For example, some Symbol employees have pledged to donate one day's pay to assist in the aid effort.Other companies are reportedly supporting employees who have skills and want to donate them to the effort by granting them paid leave to go to the stricken area.

There is a world of opportunity to connect and our opportunity now is the world. Some of those opportunities include:

International Red Cross:
Doctors Without Borders:
Project Hope:
United Nations Children’s Fund:

If your company has an employee involvement effort, please let us know. We'd like to share it with our readers.