Sure employees work for a pay check. At some level, we all do. However, many people work for other reasons. And volunteers, well, they are totally mission-driven.

Some employees actually love their jobs or how their jobs positively impact others. One person on my staff used to say “…I can’t believe I get to do what I do every day…and they pay me besides…” Granted, this attitude is more of an exception than the rule, but he is an exceptional person, and a key leader in our organization.

How do we increase and maintain high employee job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement? Salary, benefits, and luncheons only go so far. There must be other ways…

There are, and I was reminded of one recently when I served as a panel member at a brand new networking group’s first meeting that had recently sprung up in my town.  Our topic was the true meaning of success. My assignment was to talk about my idea of real success and what we did to help employees derive satisfaction from their jobs.

The room was packed with what I suspect were many people either in transition or worried about  job security. I believe they were wondering if there wasn’t more to life than just long days and hard work to bring home a check. There had to be more than endless and frenzied networking sessions, an imbalanced life, and robotically chasing the almighty dollar.

At our organization, we had several ways to provide job satisfaction and meaning beyond just posting good numbers each quarter-which we certainly had to do, by the way. One was through our Charitable Contributions Committee.

The company provided an annual budgeted amount (all company money-no employee dollars were used) to spend on worthy organizations whose missions best resonated with our employees, or where they themselves volunteered.

We established an application process and a few rules to give us structure and then let the committee members dole out the money. Committee members took their responsibility very seriously and passionately debated which were the most deserving applicants. Each quarter, we would report back to the entire staff who were granted the awards.

Our employees loved this. They were glad some of their work efforts went back into their community and that the company thought enough of charitable giving, and helping others, to put its money where its mouth was.

If you want to engage employee passion, and have them feel better about working in your organization, consider a Charitable Contributions Committee. You will be pleased with the results…and you will be doing a lot of good at the same time also.