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Cause Marketing as a Means of Employee Engagement

Cause marketing is often directed at employees and other internally stakeholders. Cause marketing can help build employee morale and loyalty, improve employee productivity, skills and teamwork and produce a pipeline of future talent.

One well-designed cause marketing effort that focuses closely on employee engagement comes from the Luxottica Group, the Italian eyewear company whose brands in the United States include Ray-Ban, Oakley and Revo along with retail outlets LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, and Pearle Vision. OneSight, founded by Luxottica in 1988, is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that redistributes millions of eyeglasses a year in more than three dozen countries across the globe.

The World Health Organization estimates that 314 million people suffer from poor but correctable vision. Luxottica says it funds most of OneSight’s administrative costs such that 92 percent of public donations go to fund programs. Here’s a link to a list of OneSight’s extensive programs.

Luxottica offers employees the chance to volunteer…with pay…to work for OneSight. Their service might take place in the developing world or in low-income areas of the United States. Either way the service typically includes setting up free clinics, providing free eye exams, and fitting donated glasses to the needy.

I lifted the charming photo at the left from OneSight’s website. Pay special attention to the genuine Duchenne smiles on both women and it'll be clear that part of the benefit to Luxottica's employees is psychic. A Duchenne smile refers to a smile that is authentic and real. That is, you smile with your eyes rather than just with your mouth.

Writes Elliot Masie in the January 2011 issue of the magazine Chief Learning Officer, “I traveled to one of these clinics at a Fresh Air Camp outside of New York. Luxottica employees at every level took on new roles within the OneSight mobile clinic. Store clerks managed the mission while senior executives did clerical work, and it became clear that these stretch assignments were a major part of their work and were seen as opportunities for career development. Store employees and managers developed new skills, competencies and attitudes during their service weeks, which they brought back to their stores.”

As Masie points out, few companies have the worldwide breadth that Luxottica has… it operates in more than 125 countries. So not every employee engagement effort can scale the way Luxottica's does.

But almost every company and its employees could benefit from a well-designed, well-executed employee engagement campaign like Luxottica’s.

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