Brexit. A contentious US Presidential election. The passing of Carrie Fisher, George Michael and others known throughout the world. 2016 has been quite a year. Even Queen Elizabeth encouraged citizens to “take a deep breath’ in her annual Christmas address. At times like these, many of us reflect on our personal and professional lives. Aligning our actions with our values is important, and as the head of HR for DocuSign, I know that connecting all of our people to our mission is essential to our success. When people align to a higher purpose, it enables them and companies where they work to continue to grow, innovate and make a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work.
Our job as leaders is to figure out how to ignite and feed that connection. I’d like to share 3 powerful ways that have worked for us at DocuSign.
1.) Weave your mission into the DNA of the company
DocuSign aims to transform the way people do business. We also have a heart. We are a giving culture. So, we started the DocuSign IMPACT Foundation to give back to our communities and empower nonprofits to be even more effective in their own individual missions by enabling them to focus resources on what matters. We give 1% of our time, product and company equity to DocuSign IMPACT, and this allows us to really connect with mission-driven organizations and help partner with them. An example is our partnership with Team Rubicon which deploys former veterans to crisis situations like Hurricane Matthew. You’d be surprised how many signatures Team Rubicon needs on the ground to get permission to do the life-saving work they do. DocuSign is a part of that. We enable them to get approvals faster. DocuSign IMPACT has allowed us to make philanthropy part of the company’s DNA.
2.) Let the employees lead the charge
DocuSign IMPACT is entirely run by employees who actively organize events and volunteer for a number of causes they find personally meaningful. Each employee receives 3 Volunteer Days off each year. DocuSign IMPACT’s Executive Director, Amy Skeeters-Behrens, set up a global distributed team of employee volunteers who strategize and organize events locally around the world at which employees can use one of their Volunteer Time Off (VTO) days. This set up not only leverages employee local knowledge but provides unique leadership opportunities to employees who step up and raise their hands. Recently held our Global IMPACT Day which brought together over 800 employees in 30 locations for 40 causes – and it was entirely organized by passionate employee-volunteer IMPACT leaders.
3.) Connect employees to the mission on Day 1
When we onboard new employees globally, each of them travels to Seattle to participate in a two-day onboarding which includes a DocuSign IMPACT project. They might bag food for the local food bank or help sort and pack clothing for the homeless. This can be a new experience for people from countries where corporate philanthropy is less prevalent and it actively engages them in it from the start. The relationships created with colleagues and with community giving from Day 1 through these events translates directly into how people on the team work together to innovate new products, serve customers and their communities later.
What’s amazing is that ultimately it does serve the business as well. In fact, per the 2015 Millennial Consumer Study: 64% of millennials would rather get paid much less to be at a job that they really love than go make more money and sacrifice their true interests. 84% of millennials say that making a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. We are a growing business. We hire hundreds of new employees globally each year — and many of them millennials. The fact that employees connect so deeply to our mission and DocuSign IMPACT is a huge competitive advantage for us as a company. And Glassdoor helps us share that story more widely.
Michael Erisman serves as VP of Global Human Resources at DocuSign. He brings more than 20 years of global HR experience to DocuSign and previously served in HR leadership positions at Parallels, Microsoft, H&R Block, Qwest Communications, KRONE, PepsiCo, and General Electric. Michael graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in Psychology and received his MA in Industrial/Organizational psychology from Radford University in Virginia. He lives with his wife, 3 daughters and Labrador retriever in the Seattle area.
Michael Erisman serves as VP of Global Human Resources at DocuSign. He brings more than 20 years of global HR experience to DocuSign and previously served in HR leadership positions at Parallels, Microsoft, H&R Block, Qwest Communications, KRONE, PepsiCo, and General Electric. Michael graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in Psychology and received his MA in Industrial/Organizational psychology from Radford University in Virginia. He lives with his wife, 3 daughters and Labrador retriever in the Seattle area.Sources:
 Elite Daily, Millennial Consumer Study, January 20, 2015