November is a month of gratitude and thanksgiving — a time when people and organizations alike focus on connections and community. And employees today more than ever are looking for purpose, inspiration and connections both in life and at work at all times of the year.

Successful organizations are thoughtful and planful about their purpose and values, giving back, and empowering and supporting their employees to give back.

Guided by Purpose

To attract, engage and inspire/retain employees, organizations must have a strong mission or purpose that guides their values. In fact, this is is table stakes for millennial employees, according to hiring managers and executives — a topic discussed in depth at this week’s Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.

A well-understood, authentic and clearly communicated mission or purpose helps employees visualize how their day-to-day work supports a larger, more meaningful contribution to the world and their organization. It is also critical for leadership to model their mission or purpose through both words and actions.

Tying organizational giving to mission or purpose is a powerful way to activate values in the community and the world. At Beehive we focus our giving efforts on elevating women, professionally and personally, and to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. We commit volunteer hours and at least 2% of annual profits to support these goals, despite being a small company. We do this because it matters to us and to our team, and because it supports our purpose to build better businesses for a better world. Find what matters to your employees and what advances your organization’s reason for existing, then work together to support those causes in a meaningful way.

Supporting Employees to Giving Back

Organizations that put mission or purpose at the center of their operations also inspire and empower their employees to get involved and give back individually. Companies can support their employees in making financial contributions to charitable organizations by matching their donations. Many companies provide offer employer matching programs where employees receive a contribution from the company if they make a donation on their own — to any non-profit. Beehive annually matches our employee contributions to Give MN’s Give to the Max Day.

A newer way to support employees to give back is through offering Volunteer Time Off (VTO) hours. VTO is a policy that allows employees to take off a specific number of paid hours annually to participate in a volunteer program of their choice. A recent Star Tribune article More Minnesota companies are paying their employees to take time off for volunteering reports that last year, 24 percent of companies nationwide said they offered paid time off for volunteering, up from 16 percent in 2014, according to a Society for Resources Management human resources study.

So how does your organization empower employees to give back? Find us on LinkedIn to share your ideas and experience.

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