Leveraging millennial insight
After analyzing the results of recent United Way campaigns, ITW noticed participation was lower among those who have been with the company for less than four years, a category that includes many of the company’s young professionals.
In order to reach this important – and growing – group of colleagues, ITW reached out to the company’s Young Professionals Network (YPN), an employee resource group dedicated to building a community of junior-level talent at the company.
Several members of YPN’s leadership team joined the United Way steering committee and offered valuable insight into the behavior of millennials in order to help increase ITW’s already strong support for the organization. Yash Siddhartha, new product development engineer with ITW Residential, noted a lack of awareness among young professionals about United Way’s work in the community and why it is so important to ITW.
“As we got involved in the steering committee, we became more inspired by ITW’s commitment to United Way,” Siddhartha said. “We realized many younger team members probably weren’t aware of just how deep the commitment runs. As a result, we were better able to identify opportunities for more thorough communication to all colleagues.”
The team also looked at how millennials prefer to receive information. In a “click test,” they discovered that donating to United Way via ITW’s intranet took too many clicks. They suggested streamlining the process to make it faster and easier to participate - including making the campaign more visible on the home page and adding banners throughout the intranet to remind team members about the program.
The team also called YPN members across the U.S. to learn more about the campaign inside the various ITW businesses and identify ways the company’s United Way steering committee could help. In the decentralized culture of ITW, the network played a critical role in creating a more coordinated campaign.
According to Michael Tenerelli, financial analyst in ITW’s Test & Measurement and Electronics segment, one of the best experiences from the campaign was the United Way Day of Action. YPN invited its members from across the U.S. to participate, and 25 members from outside of the corporate office decided to get directly involved. “It was a great way to experience firsthand the difference ITW makes in our communities,” Tenerelli said.
In addition to the Day of Action, the chair of ITW’s United Way steering committee, Mike Zimmerman, executive vice president of Construction Products, spoke at a YPN event to explain ITW’s commitment to United Way and encourage additional participation by members.
Tenerelli described YPN’s involvement as mutually beneficial. He explains, “I think we helped the campaign, but we were also able to provide our members with another opportunity to get connected into an important initiative for ITW. Our goal was always to help the campaign in a way that also engaged our members.”