Imagine you’re an hourly employee in retail apparel, handling a steady stream of customers in the hectic holiday rush. You cater to a wide range of demands, working at top speed to keep customers happy and the store in tip-top shape.

In the midst of all this, your employer interrupts your busy day and asks you to participate in the company’s latest “employee engagement campaign”—the opportunity to give back on a weighty social issue like sustainability or women’s empowerment. Do you roll your eyes, or do you embrace the chance to give back?

If you’re an employee of global retailer C&A, chances are you participate, eagerly. C&A’s most recent engagement campaign drew participation from 65% of its global workforce, earning a finalist spot in the EE Employee Engagement Awards. Within the high-churn, fast-paced retail apparel sector where annual employee turnover can top 60%, this kind of employee engagement is practically unheard of. Yet, for C&A, it’s become the norm.

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