Dalton: Community service attracts talent | Perspective

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The robust jobs report recently released by the Department of Labor is further evidence that the U.S. economy is finally putting the pandemic behind it. It also signals that the competition for talent, characteristic of the recovery to date, is likely to reach new levels of intensity, even with the rise of the delta variant.

Although I’m not an expert in human resources, I have a few tips for my colleagues in the private sector: If you want to beat the competition and land the next talented recruit, take a tour in the community.

Why am I convinced that companies with strong community programs not only have a better chance of attracting and landing the candidates they want, but also of having happier, more productive employees who stay longer in the job. their organization?

Because it is the experience of the companies that my organization, which helps young people from underserved communities to attend university, partners with to provide our services.

Take accounting firm Big Four EY, whose employees mentored 2,500 underprivileged students in 38 cities, 90% of whom went to college, through its College MAP program, which we helped create in 2009.

While the huge positive impact on students is sufficient justification for College MAP, EY also benefits. “EY employees who are College MAP mentors have longer average tenures at EY and are more likely to achieve higher performance scores than their colleagues of similar ranks,” the company website states. .

The program is also a boon to EY’s recruiting efforts, dramatically improving the company’s ability to attract talented employees.

Another of our business partners, TransPerfect, an international translation and language services company, explains why community-engaged businesses are more attractive to the discerning Millennial prospects that businesses strive for.

Having a sense of purpose is key. “Millennials care about the impact they are having and why they are doing the work they are doing. Pay matters, but it’s not the only thing they think about, ”said Jin Lee, senior vice president of global production for the company. Being able to connect with the community is essential, says Lee.

Much research supports the experiences of these two companies. In a Deloitte survey of American employees aged 21 to 35, more than 60% said an organization’s commitment to the community would play a role in their decision when choosing between jobs. Companies with active community relations programs are especially attractive to star candidates with multiple job openings, according to university studies, exactly the type that many companies are looking for today.

Two caveats: Millennials have finely tuned sensors to detect actual community service programs versus community service programs just for the picture. The ones my organization, CFES Brilliant Pathways, creates are real. Before employees of EY, TransPerfect, or any of the dozens of other companies we work with, including Southwest Airlines, GE, and Colgate-Palmolive, visit a school or meet a student online, we organize up to six training sessions with them. We not only teach them the material we want to impart – how students can master essential skills like persistence, teamwork and resilience or find information about financial aid – but we also advise them on how to connect with young people. A sign that the program is having a real impact, both on volunteers and on students? TransPerfect employees, staff say, return from volunteering sessions refreshed, feeling more creative and more inclined to think deeply about the life skills that have contributed to their success and how they can be further developed.

A second caveat is that companies need to do more than a good job if they are to benefit their recruiting efforts. Social mission departments should educate HR departments about company community programs, so recruiters have the information and knowledge they need to differentiate the company.

The work of my organization is more than necessary. A huge wave of young people – in underserved urban and rural communities – cross the pipeline without the benefits that students in richer communities take for granted. Corporate America has a key role to play in helping to level the playing field so that these young people can lead fulfilling, fulfilling and productive lives. The good news is that by helping us achieve these goals – or by serving the community in other ways – business leaders are also positioning their businesses to recruit their superstar performers of tomorrow.

Rick Dalton is CEO and President of the nonprofit CFES Brilliant Pathways founded in Cornwall, Vermont, now based in Essex, New York.


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