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Awaken tired staff by giving back

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

How can you motivate overworked, over­­stressed employees? Give them a chance to work on a meaningful project in which they give back to the community.

When Sander Flaum ran a New York public relations firm, some of his top performers were at risk of burnout. They worked long hours to win business and deliver superior results. The grueling nature of the work often left Flaum’s team exhausted.

So he arranged a pro bono assignment to help the New York Police Depart­­­­ment. (At the time, NYPD faced scrutiny for some high-profile blunders.)

Flaum’s employees were freed from having to pitch the account or track financial outcomes. Instead, the team could focus on the greater good: rebuilding the public’s trust in their police force and boosting NYPD recruitment levels.

The opportunity to step back from the normal pressures of the job proved motivating in itself. Better yet, Flaum’s staffers enjoyed applying their talent to improve relations between the police and the public.

The employees devised what Flaum calls “one of the most creative campaigns I have ever seen.” Police recruitment soared 18% as a result.

The reinvigorated group came away more driven to succeed with their commercial accounts, thanks to the positive energy they took away from their gratifying pro bono assignment. They were able to carry over that good will to generate more revenue from for-profit clients and produce more effective, groundbreaking work.

— Adapted from Big Shoes, Sander Flaum, LeaderShape Publishing.

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