Finding the right employees can be a challenge for any employer. Today, employees are looking for more than just health insurance, a good salary and a 401(k) program. So what is that something extra that might attract a prospective employee to your organization or keep them there for the long haul? Well the answer may lie in something most companies are already doing: giving back to the community.
The concept of social responsibility certainly isn’t new. Most organizations have figured out that giving to community causes is a good way to develop a positive reputation, reinforce relationships with customers and community members, and create vibrant and healthy business environments. But what does it have to do with attracting and keeping employees? One of the biggest factors affecting employee happiness is knowing that they work for a company that shares their values.
A company with a philanthropic culture provides the type of shared value system that keeps employees productive, enthusiastic and loyal. Here are a few ways giving can have a positive effect on your recruiting and retention efforts.
Builds company pride.
Donating money to a cause can have a positive effect. But involving employees in an event or a cause that enables them to work side-by-side with other team members, managers and even those who are the recipients of the help, provides a unique opportunity for team building. It can help remind team members how their special skills and elbow grease, as well as the collective help of the team, can have a direct benefit for others who are in need. When employees make the connection that the effort they put toward keeping customers happy, hitting budgets and making profits are tied to the dollars that a company is able to give back to the community, it can help generate a real feeling of purpose in their day-to-day efforts.
Whether those projects involve cleaning up a park, renovating a school playground or serving at a soup kitchen, it allows employees to experience firsthand the feeling of goodwill that comes with giving back and creates pride in what they have been able to achieve through their organization. In turn, an organization should operate as a good steward of the charitable funds, recognizing that the giving is made possible through the hard work of the company’s employees and therefore should largely be directed by the employees.
Keeps the millennials engaged.
Millennials or Generation Y, who are now in the 15-35 age group, think very differently about where they want to work and what keeps them happy once there. Engaging this age group requires employers to be tuned into what motivates them, and those motivators are very different than the Baby Boomer generation who are more influenced by salary and benefits. In a recent CareerBuilder survey, class of 2014 graduates expressed an interest in wanting jobs with companies that “made a difference in the world” and provided employees with opportunities to meaningfully contribute to society.
Nearly three out of four of those surveyed were also willing to accept a lower salary at a company that provided those opportunities. So by keeping this younger set of employees at the forefront of your company’s giving initiatives, having them recommend causes near and dear to their hearts and encouraging them to get the company involved, you up the chances that they will feel fulfilled and will commit for the long haul.
Creates social media buzz.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Doing well is the result of doing good.” Whether you interpret “doing well” to mean profit or reputation, the idea that a company will prosper based on the good deeds it does certainly resonates.
When employees respect their employer, they are more likely to share their optimism with others. In this day and age, a lot of that sharing is done on social media. A picture posted on Facebook or a review given on Indeed can go a long way toward generating positive interest in an organization.
When employees are given an opportunity to work and make an impact in their communities, the result can be increased morale, greater job satisfaction and a shared pride in the company’s role in the community. By capitalizing on the good your company is likely already involved with, it is possible to not only keep existing employees motivated, but also attract new team members who value community giving.
The author is director of public relations at Ruppert Landscape.
Hire Power is a monthly column designed to help you recruit, hire and retain the best talent for your company. We’ve got a rotating panel of columnists ready to give you practical, tactical advice on solving your labor problems. Email Chuck Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org with topic ideas.