WORKSPAN
From the Editor |

A Do-Gooder Philosophy That Belongs in the Workplace

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Dan Cafaro
Editor-in-Chief of Workspan magazine. 

All workers are wired differently. Some are motivated by merit increases, bonuses, promotions and companywide recognition. Others get pumped by coming up with a new product or revenue stream that helps their public company surpass market expectations.

And still others see every day as an opportunity to make a difference in a fellow passenger’s life. They are role models, benefits program evangelists and “pay it forward” activists. They are champions of the less privileged, the disenfranchised and the overworked. They bring a moral compass to what may feel like a cold-hearted, cutthroat corporate environment.

They offer help to the less privileged by introducing an employee benefit that helps emerging professionals who are drowning in student loan debt. (See "Tossing a Lifeline.")

They support the disenfranchised by implementing a hiring initiative that welcomes job candidates who are in desperate need of a second chance. (See "A Second Chance.")

They see dark circles under the eyes of their employees and know that the pressures at home are sapping their productivity in the office. They explore ways that they can provide a lifeline by advocating for expanded paid family leave programs and elder-care assistance. (See "Elder Care Drain.")

The longer you work in the total rewards profession, the more you should realize the extent to which these pressing issues touch us on a personal basis.

When someone’s annual salary is significantly less than the total amount of their student loan debt, it’s easy to see how that financial stress may harm their job performance.

When someone keeps applying to jobs for which they’re amply qualified but never hear a peep from a recruiter, it’s easy to see why they’d become exasperated and consider quitting the search.

When someone is sandwiched between caring for an ailing parent and raising a child with special needs, it’s easy to see why they may find it next to impossible to focus at work.

For some, the expression “do the right thing” is a childhood refrain that guides their every action. For others, it’s a do-gooder’s philosophy whose sentiment doesn’t belong in the workplace.

I vote for exemplifying the do-gooder, even if it puts you on the harder path. How do you quantify the ROI of making a world of difference in one employee’s life? If you can’t measure those results, then you may want to use a different ruler.

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