Sarah Ford | October 14, 2013

Employee Engagement And The Social Bottom Line: Sands Shifting Again?

By Tom Watson, Contributor, Forbes

Last week in Virginia, we were 90 percent through a terrific panel discussion on the changing nature of charity, corporate social responsibility, and society. There was a lot of discussion of generational change and what today’s corporate workers want from a career (after a steady paycheck, that is). And my fellow panelists and I covered collective impact, community partnerships, and story-telling in public causes.But as the final questions wrapped it up, I realized there was one topic that hadn’t been discussed much during the session, and it surprised me. The topic was social media.

The panel was entitled “Transforming Employee Engagement: Understanding How Digital Culture is Driving the Next Generation,” it was co-hosted by America’s Charities and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. My fellow speakers included Debra Snider, vice president of operations for GuideStar; Emily Simone, director of global community outreach for Lockheed Martin, and Steve Greenhalgh, senior advisor to America’s Charities and author of the incisive 2013 report, Snapshot: Trends & Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving.

In any previous year of the past eight or so, social networks and media would certainly have dominated much of the conversation. Discussions of user-generated content, contests, video, Facebook and Twitter tactics would have been the order of the day. Yet in the foggy early morning of a Tyson’s Corner fall Thursday, social media was secondary.

Why?

In my view, it’s about the ascendance of strategy over tactics – the mark of maturity in any sector – and we’ve seen this shift before.

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