There are many organizations in recent years that have posed the question: How can we incentivize our employees to perform to the best of their abilities in more meaningful ways?
This has been an interesting topic in the past ten to fifteen years, considering the challenges often faced by leadership in motivating millennials in the workforce.
We won’t get to deep into all of that (that’s not what this article is about) – but we do know that millennials currently make up about half of the workforce in the U.S. alone.
And motivating them, keeping them engaged has proved a challenge. Forbes and Glassdoor articles advise companies to offer younger employees more meaningful experiences besides competitive pay.
And when it comes to adding purpose to the work, SHORE teams was looking for a way to do just that!
About two years ago, when our current team (named the ‘Bue Squad’) was being recruited and onboarded, it became clear that nearly every team member also invested time and energy in non-recreational activities outside of work.
There were team mates that stated they preferred a healthy, manageable life-work balance to a potentially destructive hustle culture with higher compensation. Some had started their own small businesses on the side, others would regularly partake in charitable social work.
And so the challenge became, how to motivate these driven young adults to focus on performing to the best of their abilities, so that the company’s targets could be reached?
Well, in a stroke of brilliance or mad genius – our CEO Sander Dales and CCO Eelke Broersma decided to take a turn away from traditional incentives such as annual vacations or bonusses.
Instead SHORE teams opted for a solution that would benefit people and groups outside of the company, successfully tying our performance to potential charitable work for those that could really use it.
In month 3 of our first year working together as a team, we were told the good news:
If we could hit our targets (as per everyone’s individual role) by the end of the year, each of us would get a bonus in the form of a donation to a good cause.
Where these funds would be allocated would be completely up to the individual team member.
We were stunned, pleasantly surprised even. It’s not often that you come across an employer that listens and understands (or even attempts to) with such attentiveness what makes their employees tick.
We agreed, and went about our individual tasks for the year. And when it came down to it, twelve months later during our quarterly/annual review – we had done it!
The Blue Squad had managed to turn extra input into significant output and hit all its targets. Needless to say, we were all very happy with these results!
And then we were reminded of our reward: We each had earned an extra 500 Euros (about 11,500 SRD) to donate to a good cause of our choosing.
A little extra background info: SHORE teams is a fully remote company, with headquarters in Amsterdam. At the time, nearly all members of the newly formed Blue Squad were located in Paramaribo, Suriname.
The next step would be to figure out what each of us wanted to donate our bonus to.
During a team meeting about this subject, we all offered up different options. The most prevalent idea at the time was helping either an orphanage or home for senior citizens.
Given that one of SHORE teams values is improvement, we wanted to significantly improve their situation in a way that would last and truly benefit the people involved.
The challenge then would be to pick one place each to help. During this part of the planning process, we decided it was probably more efficient (and perhaps more effective) if we all combined our donations into a single large donation, for one good cause.
For a week or two, next to our regular tasks – we went looking for the perfect opportunity to help. Keeping our ear to the ground, so to say, we became aware of a local foundation organizing a charity run for renovation of a kidney dialysis centre in Paramaribo.
A worthy cause we all agreed might be the best option available at the time.
After contacting our contacts within the organization however, it turned out the amount needed had already been reached. So while our donation was still welcome, it would not make all too great a difference. The run was about to be announced as over and successful.
But, our contact Giwani at SU Aid (the foundation doing the charity run) suggested we might be able to help with another project they had been presented with – but could not actively help fund at the time.
And that’s how SHORE teams ended up with the beautiful chance to help the children of ‘Kinderhuis Saron,’ a local orphanage and boarding house in need of significant renovations.
The most important one, we were informed by the orphanage’s managing director Marcel Leune, being the boys’ bathrooms. These were in need of new lights, doors, mirrors, windows, a paint-job and some re-tiling – a whole fixer-upper certainly.
Of course, we were more than happy to help!
After discussing this with the team and leadership, the necessary arrangements were made and a follow-up meeting with the orphanage’s management later – we were ready.
The total amount of 1500 Euro’s (SRD 34,500) was transferred to the orphanage via bank transaction, and we set a date to officially hand over ‘the check.’
We’re pleased to be able to have our work help others improve the quality of their lives.
It gives us that extra push to keep going at it a little harder, a little better, a little smarter each day.
That’s always been the real fulfilling drive behind SHORE teams. We love helping people improve their lives.
Whether it’s for the developers and partners we work with, the tech companies we match them with, our team members or the kids at Kinderhuis Saron.
SHORE teams is here to help!
(Below are some pictures from the official exchange)