Benefits and Compensation, Talent

How to Attract Top Talent with Social Responsibility Benefits

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) became a popular discussion topic over the last decade. According to The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), CSR is a “management concept in which companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders.” This list of stakeholders can range from consumers to investors, and CSR practices are a must for every jobseeker.

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According to Omni Group’s Cone Communications, Millennial consumers prefer socially responsible brands more than any generation before them. In fact, nearly 70% of young consumers would switch brands and pay more for a product in order to support a cause.
This trend also transfers to the workplace, half of which will consist of Millennials by 2020. As one of the most influential generations, Millennials are focusing on making a difference in the world as consumers and workers. And as one of the most innovative generations, they expect companies to take on socially responsible values and put them into action.
The question that arises, then, is how do you attract this top Millennial talent to your company? As the CEO of Palo Alto Software, a leading software company, I have put together a few suggestions for creating CSR benefits to attract new employees and support your current ones.

1. Health and Well-Being Support

Whether it’s through a great insurance program, additional benefits like gym memberships, health plans, or supporting their family members, your employees need to know that you care about their well-being inside and outside of work.
This can be done through a variety of programs, but the key is to remember that your employees are people, too, and want to be cared for, especially in an individualized way. Keep in mind that healthcare benefits can be confusing given the current environment in the United States, so make sure you work with an expert to understand what you can do and the creative ways you can put together great insurance for your employees without breaking the bank.

2. Encourage Mindful Travel and Volunteering

Millennials are travelers and want to enjoy their free time to explore the world, become more open-minded, and create a better planet for the future. You don’t have to be a travel company to offer annual travel credit or encourage your employees to travel at all.
However, the top talent will be looking for opportunities to have a more relaxed schedule and work on their own terms for this very reason—and if you want to attract them, this is the way to do it. Set clear guidelines and expectations for remote work so that your employees feel comfortable traveling and working remotely while you still feel like no one is taking advantage of your policies.
Another idea is to encourage your employees to dedicate their free time to travel and volunteering. The Palo Alto leadership team members have spent an incredible amount of time listening to our employees and considering their ambitions to volunteer for social causes. For every employee, we give 4 hours per month to dedicate to volunteering and also contribute 1 full day as a whole company.
These are just two ideas in a sea of corporate volunteering programs. Talk to your employees, and find out what they want and what intrigues them and how they want you, as the employer, involved.

3. Invest in Your Employees by Offering Student Loan Repayment Assistance

According to a survey by ORC Internationals, Millennials are carrying an immense amount of student loan debt. With more than a third of surveyed participants reporting more than $30,000 in debt, they also expect to pay it off in more than 20 years. Needless to say, student loan repayment assistance on top of a good paycheck is one of the factors Millennials (or 59% of them) are looking at during their search for employment.
Consider this as a way to invest in your employees from early on; helping your new talent will encourage higher motivation and dedication from them. If you want to start slowly, other options may include paying for continuing education and helping your employees finish their degrees if they are related to their jobs.

4. Organize New Social Programs

At Palo Alto Software, we pride ourselves on offering a number of social programs to support our employees inside and outside the office. Paid volunteering time, unlimited free books, and continuing education support are just some of the social benefits we provide on a daily basis. We are open to employees’ ideas for new ones, too, and work together to help them thrive regardless of the constraints.
In fact, we have created a committee we call the “Live Well” committee made up of employees from every department who get an annual budget to put together social events for our company. We want employees to decide what they want to do for fun and not have the executive team decide and then feel like people come because they have to come. By taking our executive team out of the equation, our employees feel empowered to plan the activities they really want to participate in.
It is impossible to create and support every social good program or benefit out there, but I would like to finish this post with one overarching theme: encouragement and support. Encourage your employees to be entrepreneurial in their social causes, support them in their activities, and work toward being a friend or mentor rather than a boss. For the new Millennial top talent, these characteristics are vital and will ensure a long, fruitful relationship.

Sabrina Parsons is the CEO of Palo Alto Software, the company behind the best-selling business planning solution, LivePlan. Sabrina is a staunch supporter of entrepreneurs and is dedicated to helping small business owners and startups achieve their fullest potential. When she is not at work, Sabrina spends time with her family, writes about striking a work-life balance on her personal blog, mommyceo.com, and gives back to her community. Read Sabrina’s full bio, here, and be sure to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.