A “Do Gooder” has started to look very different among the generations. Contributing to the community might mean writing a hefty check at a charity gala to one employee, while another might consider building houses in Guatemala. It appears that the younger you go, the more “active” the contribution.
So organizations are grappling with this idea of how to attract “Do Gooders” by being Good themselves.
Most recently the major argument has been about going Green. Movement has been made in large organizations to slap a sticker on its brand, “We’re Green!” or to put as a major differentiator during recruitment the Greenness of their offices/products/people.
Not all companies can compete with the IBMs of the world, creating campaigns highlighting the company’s involvement in green technology…and actually having the money to play in that space. Not everyone can be Clorox and develop entire lines of Green products that will eventually replace the standard.
So how can you compete?
It all goes back to tapping into what might motivate one of your Gen-Yers. Part of their “active” contributions to the Earth usually involve their own participation in some way, shape, or form. So a Fortune 500 supporting research foundations might be impressive on the brochure, but behind the gloss it may only mean that someone from Accounting writes a check every quarter. Companies might attract a Gen-Yer that way, but you certainly can’t keep him when he finds out he won’t have any hands-on involvement.
Organizations looking to attract and engage the “Do Gooders” should think of the total attraction. Gen-Yers have been involved in philanthropic efforts since kindergarten: everything from bringing in cans for food drives to establishing African AIDS foundations on college campuses.
If there is pressure to Go Green, use the Gen-Yers you have to figure out how to attract new talent.
Your office might have to start small: Have everyone decorate a Nalgene so you can stop purchasing bottled water; re-use materials for events instead of creating new ones; have everyone contribute $5 for “Go Casual to Go Green”, pooling the money for a foundation of your choice.
Then make bigger steps: Have a team day at a recycling plant to learn about and help the community’s recycling efforts; host contests about how many miles have you biked this week to ease motor commuting.
Some of these are the simple things that kids did for Science Fair projects. Some of this is common sense. Even the fashion industry realized that creating elaborate sets for individual fashion shows was creating tons of waste.
Additionally, tap into the Gen-Yers in your office to lead the charge. They can start the team, collaborate with everyone in your office, and strive for impressive results. As contributing members of the company’s vision, in addition to his or her personal goals, you have then created a walking billboard for your company’s Greenness.
That’s much better than a glossy brochure, even if it was printed on recycled paper.