Community engagement has long been an important part of doing business, particularly for small, local businesses. But more than ever, what a company stands for has become a significant part of what many millennials consider when deciding where they want to work.
As noted in a new study from The Conference Board, corporate philanthropy is an important employee engagement tool that helps companies attract and retain talent. Generally speaking, millennials want the opportunity to make a difference, and companies that allow and encourage them to do so will be more competitive in a tightening labor market.
But how can a distributor show prospective employees that it also wants to have a positive impact on the world? One key is finding a cause that aligns with your business interests. For example, Industrial Supply Company, Salt Lake City, UT, donates tools to ReStore, an affiliate program of Habitat for Humanity. In addition, the company stepped in earlier this year to help replace tools that were stolen from a Habitat worksite.
Summit Electric Supply, Albuquerque, NM, in addition to supporting corporate-selected causes, provides a financial match to employees' fundraising efforts. As President and CEO Victor Jury Jr. noted in a column in 2008: "As business people, we recognize we are not here just to extract things from the local economy, but to contribute to the quality of life in our communities."
These are just a few examples of distributors that have made giving back to their communities a part of the corporate culture. There are many more. (Feel free to share your story in the comments section below!)
The bottom line is that corporate giving programs have become a bigger part of the business identity. If you want to recruit and retain the best of the next generation, have a plan in place that helps them make a difference in the world.