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Engaging the Younger Generation

Through Corporate Support for Involvement in Non-Profit and Community Initiatives

Younger GenerationThe younger generation employees want to do social good work; they want to be involved in the community. Companies can engage the younger generation workforce by enabling for time and support to work with local community groups – whether non-profits or NGOs.

Consider this short story of a client of Abudi Consulting Group.

The Problem

A start-up organization surveyed their non-management employees – most of whom were in their 20’s – to understand what would engage them in the workplace. This survey was generated based on a number of comments from these employees during an employee engagement survey.  The question on the survey specifically asked what the organization could do to better support the employees. A number of comments received in response to this question were focused on volunteer work with non-profits. Below are just a handful of the comments received:

  • “The organization needs to do more within the community.”
  • “I would like my manager to support my work with non-profits.”
  • “At my last job, my manager supported work with a local community group, enabling me time off from work every other week. I learned much and built skills I was able to use on the job; it would be nice if the same was available here.”
  • “I am disappointed that my manager would not let me attend a working session of a board on which I have been participating for the last three years. He told me that I could take vacation time to attend. The organization could enable for employees to have some time off for attending non-profit events without having them take vacation time to do so.”

Of the 100 respondents to the employee engagement survey, about 20 comments were focused on providing support, including time off, for employees to work with non-profits and to do other community-type work.

In doing a bit of research, it was apparent that the client was not the only company with younger generation employees interested in social good work. A key component of engaging younger employees in the workplace is to enable them to contribute to social good work by providing them time off and other support through the organization to do so. Employees, the research showed, were interested in companies that did social good work themselves as well as enabled employees to do social good work.

The Solution

Given the number of respondents who commented about their desire to work on community/social good initiatives, and the research the organization did that showed a desire of younger generation employees to work with organization that support social good/community efforts; the organization moved forward with a plan to enable for such non-profit work by employees.

What They Did

With the support of a committee comprised of younger generation employees, the organization established a Social Good Policy within the organization. Not only did the organization launch two community-based initiatives (such as an Earth Day event) each year for employees to participate; but they also supported employees taking up to seven days paid time off during the calendar year for work on community or non-profit initiatives. Each employee was required to document their efforts and how it enabled them to build knowledge and skills that they could apply within the workplace.

Checking in 1 Year Later

One year later, when we relaunched the employee engagement survey, we received a number of comments from younger generation employees praising the efforts of the organization to coordinate community-based initiatives as well as empowering and enabling support of employees to take time off to engage in social good work.

When a survey was done of new hires to the organization and specifically when asked why they chose the organization, many commented that referrals from friends who spoke of the organization’s community efforts and support for employees to participate in social good work rose to the top of the list as to why they wanted to join the company.

There are many ways to engage the younger generation in the workplace. This is just one way to do so. The younger generation expects something different from organizations. Engage your younger generation employees in a conversation as to what they would like to see from the organization. What is important for them? How can the organization support the employees’ professional or personal growth goals?

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