the rise of

Employee engagement is evolving—rapidly.
The pandemic has brought big challenges to traditional employee volunteerism models. But in this change, the seeds of creativity and empowerment are evergrowing.


Employee engagement post-pandemic will require greater integration and innovation. It will push companies to offer more–more opportunities, control and impact for employees.


Read on for Rocket’s 8 unique employee activation trends that are on the rise for companies worldwide.


Welcome to the age of
Employee Activation.


Creating unique activations amidst the pandemic

The pandemic has put the spotlight on our collective mental health.

To combat the “work-from-home” fatigue, many companies are looking for unique and alternative ways to support their employees’ wellness while behind a computer screen.

Example Activations Include:

  • Virtual Runs/Walks
  • Virtual Food Drives
  • Virtual Giving Days

Global hunger relief organization, Rise Against Hunger, developed The Virtual Impact Trip to Tanzania, which offers volunteers a chance to visit Tanzania through a multimedia, interactive experience that demonstrates a live impact trip.


giving employees a say

Companies can see a greater return on employee volunteerism efforts by encouraging and implementing tactics based on employee preference and input.

Employees who feel their voices are heard are


more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Adidas recently developed an employee-led group known as the U.S. United Against Racism Accountability Council to oversee Adidas’ commitments to diversity and equity.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America holds an annual campaign where they solicit input from employees to help decide which charities to support.


Focusing on health and wellness amidst the pandemic

A primary challenge since the pandemic began has been finding meaningful and impactful virtual volunteer opportunities. Companies and nonprofits have gotten creative to attract and engage volunteers in real and scalable ways.

Example Initiatives Include:

  • Mental Wellness Apps
  • Self Check-Ins
  • Mindfulness Workshops

Citi Bank has now implemented ‘Zoom-Free Fridays’ to encourage employees to take a step back from videoconferencing calls as they have taken a toll on employees’ well-being.

Acknowledging the impact of the work from home environment, Visible employees are encouraged to schedule 90 minutes a day to focus on improving their mental and physical wellbeing.



Employee gamification is the use of game-like elements, such as point scoring, rewards, and competition to boost employee engagement.

Research has shown that gamification increases employee engagement by


Example Gamification Activations Include:

  • Board Games
  • Rewards + Point Systems
  • Leaderboard Recognition

This May, in honor of Earth Month, Starbucks has created a month-long game to engage and educate consumers by offering pledges, questionaries, and activities on how to better support the environment. Consumers can win select prizes or sweepstake entries for a year of nondairy drinks. In doing so, Starbucks has partnered with One Tree Planted, which is an organization committed to global reforestation efforts. Together, their goal is to plant 250,000 trees across the U.S and participants have an opportunity to help decide where they’ll be planted.


Rise of Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have grown into critical programs for businesses. By providing direct feedback, recommendations, support and in some cases dollars, ERGs are increasingly an effective and important ally for employees and their social impact efforts.

With 54 employee groups and networks, more than 147,000 employees are engaged in ERGs across the company including:

  • Hacemos – Hispanic/Latinos association for AT&T
  • FACES – The Filipino-American Communications employees of AT&T

9 groups, 152 chapters, 9 countries, Boeing utilizes their Business Resource Groups to create everlasting change within the company including:

  • BWIL’s (Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership) – local chapters help recruit and retain the company’s diverse workforce.


evolving measures

Determining the ROI of employee volunteerism has gained sophistication over the last several years. Companies are moving beyond the basic outputs (hours, events, people) to setting and measuring goals that capture the impact of employee action within the company and its communities.

Measures Now Used:

  • Impact reinforcing Purpose
  • Impact on Culture
  • Impact on DEI efforts
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Alignment with SDGs
  • Employee Retention

LogMeIn has a unique approach to measuring employee impact by categorizing employee actions and initiatives with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The company reports out on employee engagement and participation metrics to identify which individuals were heavily active, recognizing them accordingly.


Creative Internal Comms.

Due to the pandemic leaving everyone with unanswered questions, internal communication channels are flooded with messages to employees.

It has never been harder to reach and engage employees around social impact, ESG or volunteerism, which has left CSR teams searching for new and creative ways to engage their workforce.

Forms of Communication Include:

  • Slack
  • Company Wide Videos
  • Social Media Groups

Asendia, a mail service provider, created an employee training and education program, which included a board game that enabled employees to learn and discover the crucial changes around sector alignment and product strategy.

HSBC’s communication team launched a companywide photography competition asking employees to capture the spirit of HSBC across six categories. The team ended up with more than 6,000 image submissions.


Commitment to Equity

With all that has happened this year regarding racial injustice, companies are making bold goals in committing to a more diverse and equitable workplace.

Examples of How Companies are Making a Commitment to Equity:

  • Financial Pledges
  • Developing and Advancing Partnerships with NPO’s Focused on Racial Justice
  • Employee Education + Training Programs
  • Stronger BIPOC and Female Representation in Partners, Messaging, and Leadership

The PepsiCo Foundation and Kiva have worked together since 2014 to deploy over $3.2 million in loans for more than 57,000 women entrepreneurs. In honor of Women’s History Month, the PepsiCo Foundation offered $25 Kiva credits to 400 of their partners as well as their employee networks to support women entrepreneurs.

Salesforce announced their commitment to increase their U.S. representation of Black employees by 50% by the end of 2023. In addition, they have committed a total of $410 million to support organizations fighting racial injustice. Nearly half of those funds are allotted to supporting public education and efforts aimed at closing the achievement gap for African-Americans and underrepresented minority students.

We believe in the power of purposeful brands to change lives & the world.

That’s why we get up each morning with a fire in our bellies to help brands and causes unlock their potential, activate their opportunity and share their story.

We’re a social purpose agency specializing in helping emerging brands develop, implement and communicate their social impact.

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Melanie Newell
Senior Vice President

Julia Broudy
Account Manager

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