The workforce is undergoing a massive change as Millennials move into positions of real authority in businesses. Unlike previous generations who often thought of their career as a means of making money or conferring prestige, Millennials want to work for companies that embrace a purpose. That can prove detrimental to profitability, but it’s not inevitable that pursuing a social good will prove expensive. Here are a few ways to strike a balance between profit and a happy workforce.
1. Connect your core competencies to a cause
Whatever business you happen to be in, there’s almost always a way you can transfer those core competencies over to some cause. Grocery stores can support food banks. Accounting firms can do books for local charities in the house. Even a local garage can do maintenance on charity-owned vehicles for cost. If you happen to be in a business where your core competencies don’t easily transfer, you always pick a cause and make it easy for workers to volunteer. Provide a set number of days per year people can take off for volunteering. If you’re willing to track the time, you can even offer pay for a certain number of days of volunteering.
2. Leverage metrics
The odds are good that you’re already tracking a lot of metrics. If you decide to embrace a cause that directly relates to your internal processes, don’t just throw money at it and hope. Let’s say that you want to become carbon neutral. Make that goal a project with fixed deliverables, a staff, and an annual budget. Then, track the metrics of the project over time. This lets you control costs while serving an environmental goal that many of your employees will likely care about.
3. Make it easy for employees to give back
Not every employee will have time on their hands when events for your main cause roll around. You can expand their options with a variety of mini-causes. You can host charitable events that support a local school or youth center. You can make it easy for employees to donate to international causes, such as the Red Cross, by collecting donations and delivering them to the recipient. You can even ask employees for suggestions for something to support and see what gets the most traction.
Gearing your business to support a cause or purpose doesn’t have to mean sustaining a significant financial hit. Picking a cause that plays to your core competencies reduces overhead since you’re not taking on things that require new skills. You can structure the costs over time by making the cause or purpose of an ongoing project. You can even opt for a variety of mini-cause to provide your employees with options. Even better, you can use your philanthropy as a recruiting tool.
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