Spencerby Spencer Moore
Resource Development Intern

My internship this year allowed me to read a lot about business strategies to engage in the community, and it has given me a fantastic insight into the influence of our generation. I hope that this post can help you understand your influence, and that after reading, you’ll have some tools that you can use to leverage change and engagement at your workplace. Your opportunity is unique—the data reflects your commitment, real people need your help, and the future of our communities may rest in your hands.

The incoming data shows that our workforce has never been more aware and active in helping companies make socially responsible decisions. Researchers found that 79 percent of employees wanted to work for a socially responsible company and that 3/5 would take a pay cut to achieve it.1  A similar study of millennials found that the younger generation is equally influential: 87 percent of millennials gave to a nonprofit organization last year, and 55 percent of Millennials said that a corporation’s cause work was influential in their acceptance of a position.2  On the other hand, workers are also making a difference as consumers, with 71 percent saying that they would pay more for a more socially responsible brand.3 Such trends do not go unnoticed, and corporations are changing their culture to attract such amazing and talented workers.

Besides the data, real individuals are being affected by the more engaged workforce. Asma, the daughter of Somalian refugees, faced almost impossible odds as a 9th grader at Granite Park Junior High in South Salt Lake. At the school, language barriers and housing instability left many students with insufficient credits to graduate. Refugee status and school problems painted a bleak future for Asma and other students like her. Then, in an amazing show of corporate engagement, a local logistics company stepped in to help. The company provided 129 volunteers who volunteered 200 hours to help recover 52 credit hours. In the end, they not only helped 24 struggling students get back on track to graduate, but they forever changed their future chances for success, and that of generations to come. For Asma, the volunteers enabled her to dream. Once underprivileged and forsaken, she now dreams of attending the University of Utah Medical School with her sister, and then one day opening her own practice. Needless to say, her dreams would not be nearly as ambitious had it not been for a socially aware group of business professionals that decided to make a difference.

As shown in Granite Park Junior High and as evidenced by research, corporations have an almost unlimited potential to change the community. So, just what can you as a newly recruited millennial do to sway a large corporation? The answer may be simpler than you think. First, research the outreach efforts of your new employer, and offer to help in as many ways as possible. Many companies have boards or committees dedicated to planning outreach and engagement initiatives, and they will surely take your opinion and input. If your company doesn’t have an outreach plan, be the one to approach your supervisor and show them the previously mentioned research. The market trends are set, and businesses need to change to attract the more socially conscious millennial generation. If needed, United Way of Salt Lake provides trained professionals that can coach businesses on developing their plan for community engagement in ways that are mutually beneficial to business and the community. In a couple of meetings, your company can change to become a true force for good. Lastly, remember that no effort is wasted. Each attempt you make to engage your corporation will change the lives of those around you, and in the end, it will be make a better community for all of us.

  1. Cone Communications (2015) 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study Retrieved from: http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2015-cone-communications-ebiquity-global-csr-study
  2. Case Foundation (2015). 2015 Millenial Impact Report. retrieved from: http://www.themillennialimpact.com/research/
  3. Cone Communications (2015) 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study Retrieved from: http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2015-cone-communications-ebiquity-global-csr-study