Guest Post: Inspiring the Next Generation by Activating Purpose with Net Impact

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Guest Post: Inspiring the Next Generation by Activating Purpose with Net Impact

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.@Timberland joins @NetImpact, shares lessons on integrating sustainability and impact to engage Millennials

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Timberland’s Commitment to Community

CONTENT: Article

At Timberland, we continuously seek out ways to support our passionate employee base and inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders. Our partnership with Net Impact allows us to be part of a community of more than 100,000 students and young professionals who want to transform their passions into purpose-driven careers and scale impact around the world. Most recently I was able to share Timberland’s best practices for engaging employees through purpose-driven work at the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia. 

1. Be Mission Driven
More than any other generation, today’s Millennials are eager to find meaningful work, support companies committed to responsible business and make a positive impact in the world. Since 1999 when I first joined Net Impact, it’s been amazing to see the growth in enthusiasm for purpose-driven work, sustainable business and social entrepreneurism that was evidenced by the more than 2,000 attendees at last week’s Net Impact conference. 

At Timberland, we’ve long believed in the power of employee engagement. For almost 25 years, our Path of Service™ program has provided our employees with paid time to serve in their communities. We know that giving employees paid time to pull on their boots and make a difference pays dividends to our employees, the communities we serve and to our business. Over the years we’ve seen more than 77 percent of employees enthusiastically engage in serving well over one million hours around the world.  

2. Think Globally, Act Locally
Over the years we’ve learned that employees will use their Path of Service™ hours if we make it easy for them to do so. At Timberland, it works best to balance company organized service events, like our annual Earth Day and Serv-a-palooza, with the freedom for employees to serve in whatever ways speak to their passions. 

We also rely on our team of Global Stewards, a group of passionate and dedicated employees who volunteer for a two-year term to drive service and corporate social responsibility in their communities, to make our global strategies come to life in locally relevant ways. The program launched in 2006 to increase the reach and impact of Timberland’s efforts, and now extends to employees participating across 19 countries. 

3. Harness the Power of Purpose 
Harnessing the power of purpose keeps employees more engaged and aligned around a shared focus. At Timberland, purpose is very much built into our brand and our business, with relevant business units being accountable for achieving our corporate social responsibility goals. As a company of Earthkeepers, we work hard to make our products responsibly, to protect the outdoors and to serve the communities around the globe where we live, work and explore. We know that collaborative partnerships are critical to drive our social and environmental agendas, and so we engage with our communities, vendors and convening organizations (such as Net Impact) to forge partnerships that scale real change.

We have a lot of experience in driving employee engagement at Timberland and we’ve seen what works best is sharing ownership of corporates social responsibility goals and providing employees with choices of how to engage and serve. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to engaging employees in your purpose, each of us has an incredible opportunity to tap into our own organization’s unique assets and culture to drive change in ways that work well for who we are as brands, businesses and employers. Net Impact members equip themselves to drive that change and I am better equipped for new challenges after spending three days in their midst.  

About the author:
Atlanta McIlwraith is senior manager of community engagement and communications for global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland, headquartered in Stratham, New Hampshire. She’s proud to have been involved with Net Impact since 1999.