Corporate employee engagement programs

Another great way to get access to experienced knowhow is to tap into corporate pro-bono support initiatives.

At the early planning stage of your Empty Space project you are probably focusing on the soft requirements of your start-up such as relationships, creative possibilities and branding. However, to be sustainable in the medium to longer term there are a whole host of other key technical areas that are traditionally associated with the corporate world. Over time you may need metrics to measure effectiveness, strategic and financial planning, mergers, pricing, communications, market research, human resources, information technology and facilities planning.

A number of professional services firms, for example PriceWaterhouseCooper, Ernst & Young and Deloitte, run employee engagement programs that can provide new expertise and ideas, while reducing costs for some of your crucial technical requirements. The expertise gained can galvanise informal knowledge to enable the greatest possible impact for your Empty Space project. All thanks to the growth of corporate social responsibility activities in employee engagement strategies.

The lowest cost way of obtaining this expertise is with skill-based volunteering programs. Not only does your project receive valuable input by experienced professionals but there may be cross-branding opportunities with your corporate partner.

Research by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, shows that seventy-two percent of Australian companies have ‘increased employee morale, engagement and teamwork’ as one of their key corporate responsibility goals. The key is to provide project-based engagement opportunities with defined boundaries, outcomes and timelines. This way everyone can be sure the desired outcomes are achieved.

Again, a word of caution comes with the old adage that nothing in this world is completely free. Engagement of volunteers requires time, planning and managing. There are many examples of community organisations that were not adequately prepared for corporate volunteers, who then became frustrated at the lack of meaningful tasks within their volunteer placement. So your project should understand the development outcomes sought by the corporate partner and ensure that there is a process in place that matches the volunteering experience to the skills of those volunteering.

More information:

Australian Business Arts Foundation's adviceBank and boardBank connect cultural organisations to corporate expertise.