Porpoise Blog

What's a Porpoise Challenge?

10-Dec-2018 8:57:00 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Employee Engagement


Porpoise is built around what we call challenges. A challenge usually has a goal and a corresponding metric and end date associated with it. Challenges follow the SMART goal framework, meaning they are specific, measurable attainable, realistic, and time bound. For example, a volunteering challenge could have a goal of achieving 10 hours of volunteerism in a 3 month period. This makes it easier for people to understand what they are working toward, and how they can contribute. Just one of the many contributing factors to our user-experience. 

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Community Spotlight: Rehab1

5-Nov-2018 9:30:00 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Employee Engagement


As a local business owner, John Gonzales has always believed in giving back to the community. His company, Rehab1, has raised thousands of dollars for worthy causes in the Greater Moncton Area. They’re using Porpoise to capture this impact and celebrate the great things they do as a company each and every day!

"We have always been extremely proud of the workplace culture that we have built at Rehab1 - it's everything we have always dreamed of: a team of engaged and positive people that want to do great things in the community, that want to support each other's goals and dreams, and that share the same values as Rehab1. Porpoise has become our go-to workplace app that we use solely to motivate each other, support each other, and work towards a common goal of being better people for ourselves and our community!!"                     - John Gonzales, Founder, Rehab1
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Why Your Employees Aren’t Using Their Allotted Volunteer Hours

20-Aug-2018 10:43:00 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Employee Engagement, Volunteering


This is one of the most common challenges our clients face before working with us at Porpoise. HR and program managers often tell us that they aren’t seeing high enough participation rates within their volunteer initiatives. We have a few reasons why their programs might not be working, and we even have a solution!

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Doing Business & Doing Good

27-Jul-2018 9:51:06 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Employee Engagement, Volunteering


I’ve been following Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for quite some time. I’ve always been fascinated by his level of foresight and leadership. Benioff is an innovator in every sense of the word. When he founded Salesforce, selling software online was unheard of, as was selling software on a subscription basis. In other words, he completely disrupted the traditional software industry.

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Why Every Company Should Share Their CSR Stories on Social Media

26-Jul-2018 9:23:59 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Volunteering, Employee Engagement


Consumer trust is lower than ever, and their expectations have never been higher. With no shortage of inauthentic cause marketing campaigns in circulation it can be difficult to cut through the noise. One of the best ways to gain consumer trust and loyalty is by sharing employee generated Corporate Responsibility content. Put it this way: it’s okay to brag about the great things your employees are doing in the community on behalf of your organization. Here’s why:

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Measuring Social Impact

23-Jul-2018 3:04:05 PM / by Caleb Dow posted in Volunteering, Employee Engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility


Companies measure just about everything. We use financial statements to measure financial performance, we measure turnover, we measure social media impressions, click through rates, attendance rates, customer retention and the list goes on. Why do we measure things? Usually we have a goal that we’ve set, and then measure actual performance against this goal. 

We only set goals for things we care about, and therefore only measure what’s important to us.

So why don’t organizations measure their giving and other metrics associated with Corporate Social Responsibility? When you compare your giving metrics to your financial performance metrics it can yield some fantastic results. For instance, Unilever has discovered that their purpose oriented brands are growing 30% faster than their other brands. 

Its been proven that the highest performing companies measure something beyond financial performance. Grant Thornton found that 70.5% of high growth companies have a clearly defined non-financial purpose.

So where do you start?

Start by discovering what your people care about. What are the shared values within your organization? What are the causes that the people within your organization want to support? Ideally you will take this information and develop a program that is flexible enough to support the causes your employees are already supporting in the community.

Next, set a goal. You can use the first year of measurement to determine a benchmark metric of what your organization is currently achieving. Then in year two and beyond, create goals that push these metrics to new heights. For example, in 2015 Clif Bar volunteered over 10,000 hours as a company, so in 2016, they created a company wide goal of 11,440. In 2014, Groupon set a goal of 10,000 hours, which they surpassed easily, volunteering a total of 14,335 hours!

Finally, measure performance. How many products or services have you donated? How many hours of your people’s time has been contributed? How many organizations have you supported? How many people were involved in the programs. Its really motivating, impressive, and inspiring to see the impact created by several small actions created by an organizations people. For example, in 2015, Salesforce achieved the milestone of 1 million volunteer hours. That’s the equivalent of volunteering 365 days per year, 24/7 for 114 years nonstop.

You may choose to offer incentives for employees who participate in these programs, or just allow the sense of purpose and act of giving to work its magic. Either way, if you care about the sustainability of your organization, and the impact you’re generating, it’s time to start measuring. Remember, a sense of purpose drives the people that drive your profits. With Porpoise, you can spend less time managing engagement and community programs, and more time accelerating and amplifying their impact. We’re on a journey to solve the world’s greatest challenges with our clients. Want to join us? Let’s chat.

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Developing an Effective Corporate Giving and Volunteering Strategy

23-Jul-2018 10:35:24 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Volunteering, Employee Engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility


After analyzing hundreds of programs, and implementing and managing programs for companies of all sizes, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to work with budgets of varying degrees. One of our greatest takeaways was that you don’t have to spend millions in order to implement a successful giving program. In fact, many of the companies we work with are able to increase engagement and impact with ZERO net-new expense. That’s right- lack of financial and human resources isn’t what is holding your program back- its how you allocate these resources that are at your disposal.

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5 Essential Features To Look For In a Social Responsibility Platform

17-Jul-2018 3:06:02 PM / by Caleb Dow posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Volunteering, Employee Engagement


As your company grows, and your employee engagement programs begin to evolve and scale, there will come a time when your organization will require a platform to manage them. There are several things to consider when deciding which platform to adopt to manage your programs. Here are the top 5 features that we believe are essential to managing a world-class employee engagement and corporate social responsibility strategy.

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Making Work Matter: 3 Ways to Build a Purpose-Driven Culture

17-Jul-2018 1:22:26 PM / by Zach Mercurio posted in Employee Engagement


Just 13 percent of the world likes going to work.

That means that nearly nine out of 10 workers from across the globe do not feel enthusiastic and prideful in what they will end up spending over 35 percent of their waking lives doing.

While this statistic is undoubtedly saddening, the economic implications are equally disturbing. Gallup estimates that disengaged workers cost the economy almost $500 billion per year in lost productivity.

So what fosters employee engagement?

The answer may lie not in what you do, but in why the work exists in the first place; it’s purpose.

The Science of Purpose

In fact, employees who have a strong sense of purpose are 4 times more likely to be engaged in their work, 64 percent more likely to be fulfilled, and even have a mortality rate 23 percent less than those who don’t have a sense of purpose.

Purpose does not just benefit individuals. Companies who put purpose first have a growth rate of three times their competitors who don’t and outperform the market by 15:1.

Purpose doesn’t just happen because you have a well-worded mission statement. Purpose is an ongoing strategy that must be proven through action and held as critically important by leadership.

Building a purpose-driven culture is as important as any strategic exercise a modern organization will undertake.

Here are three research-backed ways to start building a purpose-driven culture.

1. Cultivate a shared, common purpose.

In 1944, psychologists Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel designed a study in which participants were asked to view a simple, short animation depicting moving shapes. (You can view the original here.)

The researchers asked participants a simple question: “What happened?”

Nearly all of the research subjects created elaborate and emotional stories. The big triangle was a bully. The little triangle was trying to escape with the little circle. The little circle was scared.

What did you see?

What actually happened in this animation?

The answer is: absolutely nothing.

The animation was random — with randomly sized shapes in random motion, and no story attached to them.

The Heider and Simmel study proved that the human brain is wired to attribute and construct meaning out of chaos. In all of the randomness of our days, work, and lives we are all searching for and constructing meaning.

The same is true in every organization. And if organizations don’t orient people toward a common meaning, they will create their own, which can waste incredible amounts of energy and time.

Developing, espousing, and enacting a higher organizational purpose, therefore, can be powerful.

A higher organizational purpose is not a mission statement. A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.

A higher organizational purpose, on the other hand, is a deeply held, shared sense of directedness thoughtfully created, espoused, and enacted by the organization to reflect the organization’s contributions to the broader society.

By reflecting on why your organization exists in the world, and focusing on how the product or service improves people’s lives, a shared sense of meaningfulness emerges.

And when people believe in that purpose, values and behaviors change.

2. Shift your focus to the greater good.

There is a human being at the end of every supply chain on planet Earth. Empowering your employees to focus more on the greater good of the humans you inevitably serve can cultivate a compelling workplace and drive results.

In a controlled experiment, Wharton School management professor Adam Grant found that callers at a university fundraising center who spent just ten minutes directly listening to a scholarship recipient’s story spent more than double the amount of time on the phone and generated triple the donations compared to the callers who had no contact.

When employees perceive that their organization holds such pro-social values as humanity, benevolence, and vision, they are more likely to build a stronger emotional commitment to the organization that reduces turnover, improves engagement, and positively impacts performance.

How are pro-social values enacted in your organization? Are they emphasized in your recruitment plan, on-boarding and training, performance evaluations, and rewards structure? They should be.

People who live out these pro-social values show more care for their co-workers, deliver better customer service, and above all are happier.

The sense of a higher purpose put into action by pro-social values creates a climate where people want to come to work — and yes, that affects the bottom line.

Sharing real customer stories, encouraging volunteer work, and rewarding employees for serving one another and people (not targets and sales goals) are all strategies to start building a pro-social (and purpose-driven) work culture.

3. Make people feel like they matter.

Belonging and significance are basic human needs and yet they are often overlooked at work.

We often wait for someone do go above and beyond or do a great job before affirming them. The problem is that research has found that people go above and beyond more when they are affirmed and they feel like they matter.

Building a culture that authentically values and seeks employees’ voices, encourages collaboration, and makes it clear that people are cared for can boost both engagement and performance.

And, it’s pretty simple.

Answer this question: How do you know that someone cares about you outside of work?

If you’re like most people you thought things like, “They listen to me.” “They tell me.” “They make time for me.” And so on.

Now go and do those things at work.

When people feel a sense of belonging and that they matter, they feel like they’re a part of something important — something that serves a bigger global purpose.

They feel engaged.

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Corporate Culture

17-Jul-2018 11:52:32 AM / by Caleb Dow posted in Employee Engagement


Corporate culture is often talked about, but what is it really? I think of it as a combination of values, beliefs, and attitudes that when put together create an environment that is overall happy and productive. A healthy culture is one where employees are encouraged to grow, and experience increased levels of satisfaction, commitment, and engagement. Employees are more likely to contribute to the overall organization performance when they exhibit these traits.

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