And Attract Employees, Too
There’s no denying that the ultimate goal of any small business owner involves earnings and profits. Your business wouldn’t survive long if money wasn’t foremost in your mind. But, every dollar you earn becomes sweeter when you know that you’re also doing some good for the world — and it can make a difference to your employees, too.
Millennials occupy an increasing presence in your business, so here’s a little factoid for you: statistics indicate 84 percent of millennials want jobs that make a difference to the world. Sure, they still want reasonable salaries and benefits, but they search for meaning, as well.
Here are four affordable ways to incorporate giving back into your company’s mission.
1. Give Meaning to Every Job with a Giving-Back Company Culture
Employees want their jobs to have meaning. Even though they all perform vital functions, employees may not recognize their meaning when their jobs do not contribute directly to the company’s bottom line. They may not win the company’s annual Amazing Sales Contest or invent a winning product, but a company culture that stresses giving back lets every employee recognize his or her contribution to the world.
All companies develop a that is automatically defined by the way they conduct business. A good way to make sure that your company culture is a positive one is to put it in writing. Of course, that written document will focus largely on ethical behavior in the workplace and the treatment of customers, but it’s also an appropriate place to state your socially-conscious beliefs — and the role that every employee plays in helping to create a better world. This is a great way to add meaning to every employee job.
2. Help Keep the World Cleaner
Basic recycling is pretty easy these days; just keep paper, cans and plastic out of the main garbage bins, and you’re all set. But, businesses that take recycling and sustainability to new levels are attractive places to work.
Why toss outdated office equipment and supplies when you can recycle them? And, since reusing products is often the best form of recycling, encourage employees to find ways to make additional use out of items in or out of the workplace. For example, that perfectly-good blue office chair may no longer fit in with the new company décor, but it will look just fine in an employee’s home office.
If you sell products, you can help the environment by providing customers with a place to return old ones for recycling. Service providers can do their part by using recycled products. Whatever options you choose, be sure to notify everyone who might be involved. In addition to making your programs effective, you can gain extra points with employees — and customers, too.
3. Promote Employee Participation in Company Involvement
If you’re a strong advocate for everything from providing for the homeless to getting puppies and kittens into their forever homes, don’t be afraid to invite your employees to get involved.
Find space for donation bins in the workplace, or designate one or more willing employees to take monetary donations securely. If you have the time and resources, you can host or participate in a local charity event.
A word of caution: never force participation. Not all employees share your enthusiasm for a particular cause. If you’ve ever been coerced into buying unneeded popcorn or wrapping paper to support the children of coworkers, then you know how quickly charitable giving can morph into resentment.
4. Invite Employees to Pursue Their Own Causes
Speaking of unshared causes, your employees may have their own interests in this regard. If you can afford to allow employees to take paid time off for volunteering in their own causes, this is an option.
These programs generally work well, but you probably want to take a few precautions by providing a formal sign-up process. Make sure your employees know the time limits (a half day, a day or more) that you will permit within a given period. And, to ensure that the causes are real and ethical (personally, I’d probably deny time off to save the zombies), it’s not unreasonable to ask what they’ll be doing (and the name of the cause) during their time off.
Added Bonus: Giving Back Attracts Customers, Too
Even if you create a more socially-conscious business to attract an increasingly millennial-based workforce, don’t forget that millennials are increasingly populating your customer base, as well.
Back in 2015 millennials first overtook baby boomers in the workplace. At that time, nearly 60 percent of respondents to a Nielsen survey indicated that they would be willing to pay more to buy from environmentally-conscious companies and from those known for their commitment to social values.
In other words, socially-conscious businesses attract everyone. In fact, if you find ways to go the extra mile when giving back (or happen to sponsor the local winning children’s sports team), you might attract the media, as well. Free