The Opportunity of Giving Back: A Consideration for Employee Happiness
With the social media generation's focus on sharing and and advocacy, it is not surprising that the currents are churning a flood of volunteerism. Corporations seeking to maintain the interest of their highly gifted talent pools have noted the rising tides and have responded.
They wisely understand that the "Me Generation" whose irresponsible Yuppie chaff touted luxury, self-interest and greed "because it could," has been blown away by the storms of the second Great Depression from which there has been a spotty recovery. And companies' Human Resource departments have reacted accordingly to lure the most talented and exceptional Millennials .
According to reports, 89% of leading companies had a formal domestic employee volunteer program and 94% offered at least one matching gift program in 2010. To make sure corporations compete for the finest talent, their latest tactic is to connect sustainability measures to job requirements, bonuses and compensation packages.
The buzz term for this is "employee integration." Hires receive perks based upon their participation in company "sustainability" practices and goals. Increasingly, companies offer monetary incentives to employees who buy a hybrid or alternative fuel car.
What if the do-gooding bug bites and you decide to take a leave of absence for the satisfying experience of volunteering full time to promote an environmental cause? If you work for Patagonia, you will receive a month's salary and benefits.
An anecdotal story, which exemplifies the attitudes of those Millennials who support making a difference can be found in this example of a 30-year old woman currently running a burgeoning social enterprise. Her goal? In 10 years she plans to engender the creation of 1 million jobs in some of the world’s poorest countries.
For this woman, it is her second time successfully leading an organization. In her first leadership role, she headed up a nonprofit that engaged celebrities for endorsements. She solicited the support from many so that the nonprofit grew 85 percent in its first year. In response to a question about her dynamic leadership she said, “I’m not leading anyone. I’m not a leader. I’m just doing what needs to be done.”Continued on the next page