Be the Change: Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility

I’m sure you’ve heard all about the millennial generation. Those 20- to 36-year-olds, pampered throughout their lives by their baby-boomer parents, have grown up to be self-absorbed, entitled narcissists, right? Actually, this isn’t an accurate picture of millennials—and since they now represent the largest share of the American workforce, that’s good to know. Despite widely held perceptions about their supposedly “me-first” ways, these younger workers rank social responsibility as an important tenet of life and are looking to work for companies that share their sense of social responsibility.

In case you doubt the desire of millennials to align themselves with socially responsible companies, look no further than the Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse study, which found that 81 percent of this younger generation expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship. Millennials also put their money where their mouth is: According to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 62 percent are willing to take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company—a full six percentage points higher than the average response of all age groups surveyed.

The Need for a CSR Plan

Obviously, then, companies need to do more than just offer perks like free snacks to recruit and retain this valuable workforce segment. Having a formal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program is the key way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to the positive ideals their employees espouse. And here’s a PR bonus for you: By promoting corporate social responsibility, you’re also conveying to your customers that you care about the world outside your company’s walls.

At most companies, the HR department falls into the organizational sweet spot for managing the CSR program. As Angela Schettino of Think People Consulting observes, a company’s HR strategy links to the four components of any successful CSR initiative. First, of course, are employees, in keeping with HR’s focus on their rights and well-being, but the three other components—environment, community, and marketplace—also fall under HR’s domain.

Bottom of Form

HR’s most appropriate role in managing a CSR plan would be to monitor its adoption and then document its successes throughout the company. In the area of energy conservation, for instance, the HR department could start by implementing a company-wide recycling program and promote earth-friendly practices like subsidizing public transit costs or encouraging employees to shut off the lights, computers, printers, and copiers during non-work hours.

Try These CSR Initiatives

Here are some other ideas for HR departments and companies to consider as they implement and manage their CSR program.

  • Create a company culture compatible with CSR.As Strategic HR Inc. describes, this can start with your job advertisements and interview process. Use corporate social responsibility as a recruitment tactic, which will attract the socially responsible employees who will support and sustain your program. Perhaps even consider adding a position—Chief Sustainability Officer—whose role would be consistent with your company’s focus on CSR.
  • Pick a cause.Look at what other successful companies are doing and see if your organization can model a similar CSR program. Starbucks, for instance, has several programs in place to promote environmental sustainability. Toms has a program called “Giving Shoes,” in which the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. To date, the company has given away more than 70 million new pairs of shoes.
  • Allow time off for does this as part of its Employee Engagement Program, giving employees seven days of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) per fiscal year to do something meaningful in their communities.
  • Donate to a good cause.Take a cue from companies like Jersey Mike’s Subs, which has raised more than $20 million since 2010 by donating 100 percent of its sales nationwide on its annual Day of Giving. Or consider the corporate goodwill generated by Patagonia, a sustainable clothing brand that gave all $10 million from its Black Friday 2016 sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations.
  • Match employee contributions. Convey to employees that “we’re all in this together” by matching their contributions to a charity of their choice. It’s a way for them to stretch their giving dollars—and for you to demonstrate firsthand that the causes they value are causes that you value as well.

Demonstrating your company’s commitment to the communities and environment in which you work isn’t just the right ethical decision, it’s good business. As Patti Dunham, MA, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, states “…becoming socially aware and responsible helps the company’s bottom line. The impact on the organization’s public image and becoming an “employer of choice” because of these initiatives is immeasurable.” If you haven’t already done so, consider empowering your HR department to implement and manage a Corporate Social Responsibility program this year.

A version of this was first posted on

Tending The Leadership Pipeline: It’s All About Engagement

Workplace lore has it that a manager who hires a millennial is facing a number of challenges. Among them: how to engage and retain a generation marked as me-centric, fickle, not versed in social or business etiquette and prone to jumping ship six months after utilizing an expensive bout of training. Yet millennials are now the majority of the workforce — and they’re not kids anymore. And I’m growing tired of everyone placing labels on this generation vs that generation. It’s We Generation after all. They’re, we’re already rising up through the ranks to positions of leadership, in some cases they’re, we’re building credible and thriving organizations. It’s time to start tending our talent pipelines with a sense of their maturity and potential — which means deepening your commitment to employee engagement in ways that fully embrace our new skills and mindsets. Nothing could be more important right about now.

Here are four ways to push for more real employee engagement and optimize your leadership and talent pipeline:

  1. Pay attention to their ambitions.According to Deloitte’s fourth annual Millennial Survey, which includes 7,800 future leaders from 29 countries. The bottom line is that there’s a compelling skills gap: just 28 percent of Millennials feel that their current organization is making full use of their skills. But more than half (53 percent) aspire to become the leader or most senior executive within their current organization. To keep them ambitious about their current organization takes a commitment to engage them, providing them with the increasing training and challenges needed to grow.
  1. Mind the gender/confidence gap. Combine the success of women in leadership roles and the mistaken assumption that millennials are somehow immune to the gender gap, and you wind up with a potentially damaging disconnect that may cost you future leaders. As it turns out, women millennials are still lacking parity in terms of ambition with their male counterparts. The Deloitte survey found that 59 % of men aspire to the top job in their organization, versus 47% of women. Yet they’re not lacking self-awareness of their aptitudes, and in this regard, women are actually ahead: in terms of professionalism, hard work, time keeping and discipline, woman actually rated themselves higher (45%) than men (37%). Again, it’s a question of engagement.
  1. Encourage cross-mentoring. despite any sense of intergenerational attitude gaps, enabling the cross-mentoring of generations in the workplace has obvious advantages, including a broader span of knowledge and expertise, and clear exchange of social, emotional and leadership intelligence. Create opportunities where Gen-Xers and boomers can mentor millennials, and you’re creating a pipeline of future leaders that will sort itself out: those who rise to the top in many organizations are those who will be able to leverage the wisdom of experience into their own skill set, and apply it to leadership roles.
  1. Fully merge the company culture with social and mobile. We are now all digital citizens, as my friend Kevin W. Grossman noted recently, and in order to fully engage the very generations that are going to lead us (let’s not forget about Generation Z), there can’t be any gaps in a company’s social and mobile presence. That folds back, as well to that Deloitte statistic that only 28 percent of Millennials feel that their current organization is making full use of their skills. And let’s not forget who is going to make up the bulk of consumers.

The presence of this generation has already changed the workplace, but now it’s beginning to change the face of leadership as well. Ground people in the values and mission of the organization, but let them leverage their de-facto mobile and social culture as they begin to reshape the workplace as well, or you’ll hamper the growth of the business.

And each generation of leaders has had their own communication style — so here’s one thing to remember. You may not feel comfortable getting a text or tweet instead of an email, or an IM instead of a phone call. But it’s the same business, and if you’ve aligned your future leaders with the mission of the organization, there’s nothing to worry about. Trust me on this.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

Don't Believe The Hype: Unlabeling Millennials

Ever since the CoBies — Google’s multidirectional Conference Bikes that transform going for lunch into a team-building exercise — the image of millennials in the workplace has turned into a kind of perpetual second-guessing. So young, so self-possessed, so smart, so not into phone calls! So what else do they want?

This kind of approach is both fascinating and frustrating to HR in general and thought leaders especially (Ahem). It’s also beside the point. I’m not one to place labels on people. The “new generation” customarily befuddles the older; the older generation usually wants to take it upon themselves to school the younger. One difference here: millennials’ facility with digital, mobile and social means that they tend to be the teachers. But that same digital dimension also stimulates a vexingly stubborn case of us and them.

Get over it

Yes, millennials did seem to arrive fully dressed (in extremely skinny pants), with tools — as if born texting, that first infant cry a hashtag. But that’s just confluence. And taking to mobile and social like fish to water? That deserves credit, not headshaking.

The very term millennial has marketing-ploy written all over it; and that works contrary to the role of HR, which is to recruit talent. Here’s the basic premise to recruiting talent: Recruit talent. The best candidates for the position, not generations, not mystique. Hu-mans. Also, it’s a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s job to see past hype and stereotype in order to create an authentic and constructive relationship between candidate /new hire and company. So let’s look at two millennial trends and see what they really mean.

Millennials don’t care about money

A recent Case Foundation study found that 55 percent of millennials are influenced by cause work when deciding to join a company. Meaning and mission clearly play a role in their employment choices.

Look again: That doesn’t actually mean they don’t care about money. Yes, many millennials are concerned with causes, and given issues like climate change, that’s not surprising. Nor are millennials the only generation to consider the ethical value of work.

But this may be a savvy adaptation on the part of these here kids. Studies show that millennials are on track to be the most educated generation to date, according to the Pew Research Foundation. They’re also saddled with debt: a White House study puts outstanding student loan debt at over $1 trillion by the end of 2014 — partially due to greater enrollment among millennials. And despite the job market heating up, millennials are still underemployed, and making lower starting wages since the economy’s tumble. This puts looking for work with more than just a crappy salary in a different light. Sort of a silver lining, look at the bright side kind of light.

Millennials want to know the Big Picture

When interviewing and talking to recruiters, millennials want to know more than just the nature of their particular job. They want to know about how they can grow, what they can expect to accomplish, and how they can fit into the mission of the company.

In truth, transparency is always better: it’s far more productive in the long term for a recruiter to paint the whole picture, not just the small stuff. This promotes a better fit for candidate and company, which leads back to a holy grail in HR: retention.

Even from a company perspective, big picture conversations offer far better indicators for a good ROI. But here’s another point: given that millennials came of age and streamed into the job market at a point when jobs were drying up and the economy was tanking, there are plenty of practical reasons to want to be informed about growth and the potential for accomplishments.

Again, look at the economy: The job market is improving, but there’s a new kid in town, Generation Z. Actually, as a recruiter, I’d take the millennial request for the bigger picture as a plus: it speaks to commitment. Which refutes the “job hopper” mis-label that sometimes gets stuck on millennials. It also makes them more like everyone else, not less; the quest for engagement and growth at work is not unique to people under the age of 34. This is an everybody issue.

Soon enough, millennials will be the new normal; they now comprise a solid one-third of the workforce not yet hitting retirement age. High time to consider talent the fulcrum, not generational trends. Yes, each generation offers a skill set and a mindset more suitable to certain positions or purviews than others. But that’s a sweeping overstatement. No matter the organization, mission or corporate culture, whether employees travel on wacky team-building googlecycles or in drab shuttles, whether in Silicon Valley or Duluth or Madras, different generations all contribute their part to a workforce, and each individual employee is what matters. The sooner we stop trying to get the label to stick, the better our chance to not become unglued in the process.


A version of this article has been published on MillennialCEO on 4/20/15

"Millennial" Isn't a Scary Word: Workplace Trends Through the Eyes of the Digital Generation

“They’re here.” While horror movie fans might hear this line and immediately think of Poltergeist’s unhappy spirits, managers will think of another, potentially scary group: millennials in the workplace.

According to research by the Pew Center, millennials, also called the Digital Generation, are now the largest generational demographic in the American workforce. Unfortunately, lots of rumors have followed these young professionals to work: they’re lazy. They’re entitled. They’re narcissistic. And they’re a manager’s worst nightmare.

But is any of this true? While everyone likes to talk (and generalize) about the way in which the Digital Generation works, very little has been said about how talent management strategies affect them – or how they view that talent management. That’s why PeopleFluent launched a comprehensive survey and focus group to directly reach these young professionals to learn what works best to attract, motivate, and retain them. What we discovered is that this group is ambitious and engaged – and that your talent management tactics might need to shift to maximize their effectiveness.

For example, while over 75% of our survey respondents report being “engaged” or “very engaged” at their job, nearly two thirds are still entertaining other opportunities. Why? Remember, many of them grew up with information on-demand and started careers in the midst of the great recession. As a result, for the Digital Generation, careers are filled with possibility and instability. Just because they’re in a stable situation today doesn’t mean that things can change quickly. Plus, with job postings and company information constantly updated online, young professionals can keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in their industry or chosen fields – and make a quick move if the need should arise. Just understanding this one dynamic of your Digital Generation workers can help you better engage – and retain – them at your organization.

We’re excited to discuss some more of our findings, and what managers should take away from this information, with Kevin Grossman and Meghan Biro on TalentCulture’s #TChat Show on Wednesday, 09/23 from 1-2pm EDT. Join Frank Moreno, PeopleFluent’s VP of Product Marketing, and learn how to recruit, develop, and engage your top performers from the Digital Generation. Here’s a sneak peek of what that show will look like:

For more information about this week’s #TChat Show, see here. We look forward to seeing you on 09/23!

Stay on the lookout for our “The Digital Generation in the Workplace” proprietary research report, coming soon! In the meantime, learn how to empower your Digital Generation employees to become diversity-minded leaders with our ebook, “4 Steps to Developing Millennial Leaders with Diversity in Mind.”


PeopleFluent is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post. 

#TChat Preview: Workplace Trends Through The Eyes Of Millennials

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we talked about importance of the candidate experience and this week we’re going to discuss workplace trends through the eyes of Millennials with this Frank Moreno, Vice President of Product Marketing at PeopleFluent, the leading total workforce HCM technology company.

The younger generation today with their mobile devices and instant communication and need for continuous feedback and the job hopping — the fact is, there are a lot of misconceptions about how the Digital Generation works, and what motivates them to stay engaged and perform in the workplace.

Sneak Peek:

#TChat Events: Workplace Trends Through The Eyes Of Millennials

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Sept 23 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about workplace trends through the eyes of Millennials with this week’s guest: Frank Moreno, Vice President of Product Marketing at PeopleFluent, the leading total workforce HCM technology company.



Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Sept 23

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, September 23 — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Joe and Ivan will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are best practices to recruit high potential and high performing Millennials? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How have Millennials changed the way all generations search and apply for jobs? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can managers better engage, motivate and retain Millennials? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

BTR stitcher_logoItunes_podcast_icon



Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!


Image Credit: Big Stock Images

#TChat Preview: The Millennial Misunderstanding

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT). The #TChat Radio portion runs the first 30 minutes from 7-7:30 pm ET, followed by the #TChat Twitter chat from 7:30-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about building legendary teams in the inner game of business, and this week we’re going to talk about how millennials are different, but not as different as companies think.

There continues to be so much hubbub about millennials taking over the world of work, with lots of research around it, but unfortunately no one is taking the time or making the plans to manage them.

It’s like businesses are playing the anthropologists, watching from afar, taking notes but avoiding interaction at all costs — until, of course, they have to hire them.

And hire them in droves they are — millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

There are many myths about millennials that abound, however, that should be addressed sooner rather than later. For example, what motivates Millennials in the workplace is actually quite similar to what motivates non-millennials, with some regional and country differences. What is different is how much performance feedback and coaching Millennials expect from their managers compared to non-millennials.


Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-creator and co-host Meghan M. Biro, live from The Mirage in Vegas at #sconnect as we learn more about why we misunderstand millennials and how we should change that with this week’s guests: Jacob Morgan, author of “The Future of Work” and Co-Founder of Chess Media Group; Dr. Karie Willyerd, SVP Learning & Social Adoption at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company; and Christa Manning, Senior Vice President of Research at Horses for Sources (HfS).

Related Reading

Amy Gallo: 4 Things You Thought Were True About Managing Millennials

Meghan M. Biro: Reconsidering Millennials: They’re Not That Different From You

Heather Huhman: 4 Ways to Attract Millennial Talent

Daniel Newman: The Millennials: Why This Generation Could Save Us by @AmyMccTobin

Lisa Evans: Why Millennials May Be Out Of the Office but Not Far Away from Work

Andre Lavoie: 4 Employee Engagement Secrets from Millennials

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: The Millennial Misunderstanding

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, September 10 — 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show with our host, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, as they talk with our guests: Jacob Morgan, Dr. Karie Willyerd and Christa Manning.

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, September 10th — 7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why do business leaders struggle managing millennials and how can they improve this? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How have millennials impacted other generations in the workforce today? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: With skill shortages increasing, how can we improve base-level skills in millennials? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

photo credit: via photopin cc

Another Kind Of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud

“You say you want a revolution? Well you know, we all want to change the world.” –John Lennon

It’s deja vu on a grand scale — like the Beatles are arriving in America all over again. A huge culture shift is upon us, and the winds of change are blowing in ways that are simultaneously unsettling and exhilarating.

“Boomers” are transitioning out of their careers, and the leadership reigns are slowly-but-surely being handed to Millennials at start-ups, small businesses and enterprises everywhere. Much like when John, Paul, George and Ringo touched down in New York in 1964, at first there was some resistance, but eventually the new guard convinced skeptics and changed minds. In the 60’s, revolution was expressed through music and social change — while today, next-generation leaders are driving disruptive change in technology and business.

New Agents of Change

Cloud computing, mobile devices, “big data” and social media are now prominent fixtures across the business landscape. From solopreneurs to the global enterprise, companies are more connected than ever with their customers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

Enabled by connectivity and powered by the cloud, this is more than just “Marketecture,” this is the engine of our business future. Millennial leaders are strongly committed to embracing these technologies and putting them to use in a way that drives their organizations forward, leaning on cloud applications to keep employees connected with anyone, anywhere, anytime. This allows business to continue 24×7×365 if needed, yet provides employees ultimate flexibility to untether from their desks and remain productive.

I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?

And then there is social media. This phenomenon isn’t just about tweeting #hashtags on Twitter and posting  “likes” on Facebook. Social media offers a whole new way for humans to engage and extend our communities through the most powerful business-building infrastructure in the world — the Internet.

Thanks to social powers, the timeline for building a global business has compressed from decades to days, because word can spread and new markets can be created at a such a dramatically accelerated pace. New ventures everywhere can instantly reach out to potential partners and target markets to ask questions and find solutions for the most simple and complex business problems.

Building the Future, Differently

When the Beatles came to America, they permanently redefined rock and roll. Adding their collective influence to the voices of their time, they made music better for all of us who followed. And today, through social synergy, Millennial leaders seek to do the same for business.

Leaning on the best ideas and innovations that have previously defined success across industries, the CEOs of the future are not content to settle for the status quo. The goals of next-generation leaders may be similar to those before us in some ways, but they are different enough, so our mark will be felt.

We will leverage breakthrough cloud and big data resources to develop businesses that are inherently social, and we’ll create cultures that thrive on collaboration. Like leaders throughout history, our goal is to solve business problems effectively, but we’ll approach those problems very differently. Building a smarter planet through technology is exactly what the Millennial CEO of the future is destined to do.

What role do you think technology plays in next-generation business success? What must Millennial leaders do to succeed in a hyper-connected marketplace? Share your ideas in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from the Building a Smarter Planet Blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain image archives