Helping organisations understand Social Value

Here’s a short video clip talking about recruitment challenges, particularly around the changing perceptions of the millennial generation (and Gen Z for that matter, as we’re seeing those born in this century entering the workplace – my God don’t I feel old).

To contextualise this – and to be honest I hold my hand up that I had to google the different generation descriptions – here’s a bit of number crunching:

Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1999) will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Profiling by people who like to find out these things shows that these younger workers are motivated by a sense of purpose beyond financial success. To be honest, we don’t need professional profilers to tell us this – anyone who’s not been living under a rock will have seen the impact of Greta Thunberg and other young people who are embodying their values. I wonder what profession Greta will enter, and how she might impact her organization?

At a more pedestrian level, as the majority of people (for better or worse) aren’t activists, slightly less radical approaches within the workplace can really engage and motivate employees. Creating structures that encourage and support staff to get involved in activities in the community, within the industry or organisation and taking a holistic approach to personal development will build that staff member’s relationship with the organisation.

Giving an example, encouraging and supporting an employee to volunteer their professional skills with a charitable purpose organisation (which may also be supported through a corporate charity fund) will help cement that individuals relationship with the company. Someone who is halfway through a project with an external organization is far less likely to get head hunted and is also being supported in CPD – they see the benefit to themselves as well as being more productive for the organization. Change management specialists Impact International really excel in this area, supporting team members to take paid time to support local social purpose organisations.

Alternatively, encouraging and supporting staff members to take ownership of their wellbeing – organizing lunchtime walks or a healthy eating club helps staff create productive work communities of interest, building relationships. If that group can be encouraged to share their activities with the wider organization, it’s this kind of thing that builds positive work culture. Fundamentally people like to be helpful, and you’re facilitating that.

Going back to recruitment however, you’re not going to attract the brightest and most motivated if you don’t talk about your culture and staff support. Again, I see disconnect all the time as businesses who are doing this stuff fail to use it to promote their organisations as great places to work. My theory on this is that most businesses aren’t doing this in a structured way, most of what’s happening is likely to be quite organic – employees have developed these things themselves (perfect by the way) and they’re in a work culture that has enabled good stuff to happen (also fantastic) – the missing link is to recognise the VALUE of these activities – it’s not just ‘nice to do’ it’s what’s retaining your staff and engaging them with your business – let this shine through your recruitment processes too!