- Research shows that when employees go beyond the call of duty, their work experience is more meaningful and their organizations operate more effectively, Harvard Business Review (HBR) reports. Workers who willingly perform beyond expectations by stepping up to assist coworkers, volunteer to take on extra assignments, introduce new ideas, attend meetings that aren't required and work extra hours to get special projects done make their employers more successful.
- When employees show extra initiative on the job, they're exhibiting "citizenship behaviors," HBR reports. Employees can revive interest in their work by changing aspects of it through "citizenship crafting," in which employees proactively reshape the work they do. For example, employees can redesign their jobs by adapting the job itself (what researchers called "task crafting"); they can change interactions with colleagues ("relationship crafting"); and they can alter how they think and feel about their job ("cognitive crafting").
- HBR says managers can encourage citizenship behaviors among workers but warns that unless the behaviors are voluntary, workers might feel they're being pressured and reject the idea.
Encouraging employees to "go the extra mile" is about employee engagement and job satisfaction. Studies show that giving employees more control over their work increases that engagement — but employers must be wary of creating a phony-seeming culture that simply pushes employees to work harder than before. Showing appreciation for employees is key, as is giving them chances to develop their skills and try new things.
Considering "citizenship behavior" through volunteerism can also boost engagement. Employees routinely volunteer for civic organizations, churches, arts associations or political campaigns on their own time. In the workplace, many are involved in philanthropy as donors who look for their employer to match their financial gifts or hands-on volunteers representing the employer in the community. Employers can solicit workers to support a cause.
Employers know the social and financial value of being a good corporate citizen, an entity that's engaged in the surrounding community through philanthropy. Therefore, it makes sense for companies to want their employees to be good corporate citizens by extension. A study by the Horizon Media's Finger on the Pulse found that 81% of millennials want to work for organizations that are considered good corporate citizens.