Thank you Geri Harris!

Welcome back and thank you for reading!

Oct 12th-16th was Volunteer Awareness Week and perhaps you saw and heard more about the PULSE Volunteer Program and all the amazing work PULSE Volunteers are doing on their assignments.  Perhaps you heard some of the impressive statistics from the Pulse Impact Report:

  • Managers and colleagues report that PULSE Volunteers develop each of the GSK Expectations (Work Across Boundaries, Live our Values, Release Energy, Develop Capability and Talent, Set Direction and Inspire, Drive Performance).
  • 87% of Pulse Volunteers have developed their leadership skills and competencies
  • 86% of PULSE Volunteers have made positive changes to the way they work.
  • 75% of PULSE Volunteers moved to new roles 1-3 years since their return to GSK, most of them with increased scope and responsibility.

These are exciting statistics.  However, I have come to realize that these are merely the symptoms of the much larger and powerful changes that are taking place within the Pulse Volunteers as we embrace the responsibility of making sustainable change for each of the organizations we work with.

Maybe the journey isn’t about becoming anything.  Maybe it is about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can become who you were meat to be in the first place. – Unknown

As I reflect on the first half of my assignment here at CCSRI, I found it hard to find the words to describe how I felt and even harder to try to define how I would translate this back to GSK when I return.

Tonight I was inspired by Geri Harris.  She is a fellow PULSE Volunteer and I would highly recommend reading her last blog post (actually, while you are there, read them all…she is a fantastic blogger!)  Geri nailed it.   I will hyperlink her blog here for you to read.

One of things Geri writes is that “Every single GSK employee should go through a PULSE assignment. Period.”

I agree.

Anyone who has done any volunteering knows that you gain much more than you give.  The energy, gratitude and perspectives are priceless. A six-month immersion experience only amplifies these gifts which translate into increased fulfillment, engagement and productivity.  Perhaps it seems too bold to suggest that ALL employees should complete at PULSE Assignment….but why not?  I wish that everyone could have this experience if they want it.  My amazing team back at GSK has been taking on additional work to cover for me while I am here at CCSRI. I am truly grateful and would love nothing more than to return the favour.  I am sure all PULSE Volunteers feel the same way.  So, if you have someone your team who is away on a PULSE Assignment, I hope you consider PULSE for yourself as well and give them the opportunity to return the favour for you.

BeTheChange_GandhiIf a PULSE Assignment as it is designed now is not right for everyone, perhaps there are other models that could be developed.  Perhaps there could be shorter (one week? two week?) terms followed by sustained involvement for one day per month over a period of time in which a more in-depth ongoing project could be progressed (I will call these “Pulses”).  Perhaps there could be Orange Days once a month where employees could engage with the same local organization on an ongoing basis to create similar sustainable change and leadership development opportunities.  Perhaps employees could use these days to spend more time with organizations they are already involved with and passionate about.  What if, over time, every employee could complete a Pulse or “Pulses” assignment?  Imaging what an even more empowered, engaged, energized and passionate organization GSK could be. As we have seen from the Pulse Impact Report, these personal benefits can and do translate into tangible benefits for the business.

Thank you, Geri, for being open, honest, bold and for focusing your blog on the “gooey stuff happening below the surface.”  It has inspired my blog today and I hope it inspires others to apply for a PULSE assignment in the future.


  1. I couldn’t agree more. I came into my assignment trying to understand how to best help others, but in the process realize I have gotten back so much. The Pulse program is amazing. I think every employee should be required to do at least an Orange Day every year:)

    1. Thank you MaryAnne! It really has been a journey and I do feel a change happening even though I go back home each day so I can only imagine what it must be like for those who are completely out of their normal routine. I think the experience itself, combined with the great discussions I have had with my Pulse Coach and other Pulse Volunteers has really helped :). All the best for the remaining few months of your Assignment!

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