The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

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032: Next Generation Workplace Giving with Envested Founder and CEO, Isa Watson

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Isa Watson bio pic

You may have heard the word “corporate social responsibility” being thrown around but not really connected it to employee wellness. Corporate social responsibility, often abbreviated “CSR,” is a corporation’s  initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing.

“What does corporate social responsibility have to do with wellness”?

Hopefully you are looking at wellness or well-being as moving beyond just the physical, and are thinking or have thought about ways to weave volunteering into your wellness strategy. If you need more evidence than that, I’m a big fan of the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing model that includes community as one of their 5 dimensions.

That’s why I brought on today’s guest, Isa Watson, founder and CEO of Envested, the next generation giving platform that makes it easy to inspire and engage employees.

We start out talking about how Isa got from a degree in chemistry with a minor in math to creating Envested. From a young age, she was attracted to complex problems and problems solving. She was a Metabolic Chemist at Pfizer but realized she wanted to be closer to the impact.

Isa then got her MBA from MIT and pivoted into the world of business. She was recruited to JP Morgan Chase where she worked on complex business strategies. At JP Morgan Chase, she was exposed to the way milllenials wanted to engage with customers and as employees. It was then that she had the idea for Envested, so she left JP Morgan Chase to start her company.

Isa then tell us about Envested and how it’s a next generation workplace giving and employee engagement software. Envested allows employees to give their 3 T’s (time, talent and treasure) to local non-profits.

She walks us through how a company would use Envested. Envested allows employers to:

  • Give and engage easily with local communities.
  • Allow cause work in groups (3/4 of millennials like to do their cause work in groups).
  • Consolidate communications around CSR initiatives (find and reference the opportunities).

There are three standard ways a non-profit gets onboarded onto their platform:

  1. Those that have an existing relationships with Envested.
  2. Those that have an existing relationship with the company (but Envested doesn’t).
  3. Allow employees to suggest non-profits they want onboard.

I ask Isa why should an employer consider allowing and encourage their employees to volunteer during work time? Research shows that when co-workers volunteer together their relationship is strengthened. It’s a different way to connect employees. Millennials are now asking in interviews what companies are doing around CSR and volunteering.

Isa talks through some common employer challenges to CSR, such as employee engagement and it’s difficult to customize engagement by location or by group.

Although the Envested platform is industry agnostic, they initially started working with tech, financial services and manufacturing companies.  These companies realize their workforce is changing and are in a fight for top talent or that employees have aged and they need to appeal to a younger demographic.

Isa’s tangible tip for companies to increase their Corporate Social Responsibility:

1. Digital enablement ($10 billion left on the table for corporate matches): 84% of millennials gave to a charity last year but only 15% of employees engaged with their employer’s opportunities.

2. Try more group activities as workplace collaboration is the norm.

Links and Full Bio: 

Isa (pronounced eye-suh) grew up in Chapel Hill and spent the last several years in the Northeast U.S. and abroad in London and Hong Kong. She started her career as a chemist for the metabolic diseases group at Pfizer before pivoting over to the world of business.

After getting her MBA, Isa worked as a VP of Strategy and Business Development at JPMorgan Chase before deciding that her real interest was in applying her medley of skills towards problems affecting local communities. She founded Envested in 2015 to merge her various experiences into one awesome company.

Some of her prior accolades include the “40 Under 40” Award from the Robert Toigo Foundation and 1st place in the Annual Business Plan Competition at Harvard Business School with Vaxess Technologies. When she isn’t telling people how to pronounce her name, Isa is playing piano like Chopin’s apprentice, attempting to drink her weight in tea, or geeking out over all things data.

Isa has earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MS in Pharmacology from Cornell, and a BS in Chemistry from Hampton University. She is a very active member of the MIT Sloan Executive Alumni Board.

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