Benchmark 9

Celebrate collectively & regularly



Benchmark 9: “Celebrate collectively & regularly” does what it says on the tin. A company-wide reason to celebrate and regularly reinforce company values.

Benchmark 9 Components:

  1. Create awards system recognising company leaders, volunteers & teams
  2. Announce company milestones & outcomes regularly, at all levels


1. Create awards system recognising company leaders, volunteers & teams

BITC speaks of integrating company values into a rewards system to encourage the preferred behaviours, for example incentivising the most active teams and individuals, as well as those who help spread the word (internally and externally).


This could be as simple as giving employees a small gift card or bonus, as Airbnb do, or awarding points to be utilised towards health vouchers as at AMD. IBM let volunteers earn digital badges and credentials.


It can also be a great way of “storytelling” and sharing successes company-wide, as Pearson and Accenture do in formal staff award ceremonies. Accenture’s “Greater Than” award (which – by the way – ties perfectly with their company logo & branding), allows teams worldwide to share their volunteering success stories which are then voted on by the entire company through a webcast.


Pearson goes one step further to hold an awards ceremony to celebrate their non-profit partners, teachers and students that they work with too.


2. Announce company milestones & outcomes regularly, at all levels

Sharing inspiring stories (both big and small) on a regular basis serves as a continuous reminder of highly-valued volunteering behaviours. 3BL Media‘s Dave Armon tells how companies regularly come to them for help shaping and telling their CSR “story” to a wide yet relevant audience. He thinks it’s about not just focusing at the senior level, but showcasing the people benefitting from and engaging in social impact activities.


Encourage both junior and senior voices across the company, as well as your third-party partners to share your successes for you! The majority of  American Express’ CSR communications over the past 5 years is through their non-profit partners & social media channels.


Start-ups typically celebrate successes in weekly or monthly “All hands” meetings. Square have volunteer spotlights and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) every month as well as an internal Annual Report celebrating every office’s volunteer efforts.

What each tier does well

Established Company


This tier was particularly creative when it came to having an awards system to recognise employee volunteer efforts. Many large players had a well-esteemed Annual awards-type event to rally employees company-wide around.


Did tech help?
Use of tech to facilitate awards given was strongly correlated to strong performance on this benchmark (0.8 at 99% CI). For example, IBM would utilise online credentials/badging to recognise top employee volunteers, and Accenture would utilise online webcasts and voting mechanisms to involve the entire company in the awards ceremony.



High-growth companies seemed to maintain the same strong company-wide communication as their SME peers, often announcing company milestones and outcomes on a regular basis at company-wide “All-hands” meetings.


Did tech help?
Besides web conferencing technologies to include employees worldwide in such “All-hands” meetings, tech was not a significant driver of performance for this tier. Some companies produced internal newsletters or annual reports to disseminate across the company on a regular basis, but tended to rely on Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to share success stories.



SMEs were particularly strong in communicating milestones & outcomes across the company on a regular basis, often in-person.


Did tech help?
By virtue of their size, SMEs relied mostly on in-person communication and “All-hands” meetings, rather than technology, although notably some of the larger companies had recently introduced newsletters from their recently formed CSR team (or Employee Resource Groups – ERGs) 

Filling the gaps

Toggle through each tier below to explore the weakest areas of performance against this benchmark:


How tech might help

Tech was strongly correlated to high-performance against this benchmark (0.79 at a 99% CI) and often formed the basis for creative awards systems (i.e. getting the wider company to vote online or view through a webcast).


For SMEs, tech was less important for announcing company milestones given the typically close proximity of employees to one another.

Case Studies:

Tech as an enabler

Accenture Logo

Accenture’s formal staff award ceremony – the “Greater Than” award – allows teams worldwide to share their volunteering success stories by entering them into the competition. Shortlisted initiatives are then shared through a digital webcast providing all of Accenture’s 425,000 employees the ability to vote on who wins at the final awards ceremony. This drastically increases the visibility of volunteerism across the company’s many global locations.


IBM Logo

IBM’s internal awards process is made possible through their Volunteer Excellence Awards program in partnership with Credly (a provider of a global digital badging marketplace for accredited experiences and skills). The program awards individuals and team volunteers for their participating hours through Credly’s Acclaim digital badging system (IBM Bronze 100 hours, IBM Silver 250 hours, IBM Gold 500 hours & IBM Platinum 4000 hours).

Education-specific best practice

Booz Allen Logo

Booz Allen partners with a number of educational nonprofit organisations and celebrates success stories through their hosted award ceremonies for participants. One particular initiative is with FIRST, an organisation inspiring young people’s interest in STEM careers, and whom Booz have been a partner for 14 years.

Booz employees volunteer as mentors and advisors to FIRST, supporting their growth strategy and data analysis, but also hand out awards to student winners of FIRST’s innovation competitions both globally and locally.


Square Logo

Square, a start-up providing point of sale payment solutions, regularly celebrates volunteering efforts at all levels. To engage the wider business in a bit of friendly competition, Square share an annual report internally recognising every local office’s efforts. More frequently, they conduct “Volunteer Spotlights” to showcase incredible achievements at an individual and Employee Resource Group (ERG) level.

Next: Read onwards to Benchmark 10 >>

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