Advocating for Impact: What Workers Want
Net Impact’s new Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012, our nationwide U.S. study conducted with Rutgers University, lets the cat out of the bag. We Net Impacters are already in on the big secret, but now we’ve got the research to back it up: employees who have the opportunity to make an impact on social or environmental issues on the job are more satisfied than their colleagues who don’t, by almost a 2:1 ratio.
We commissioned this research because Net Impact believes it’s critical that companies and organizations understand that working professionals and soon-to-be working professionals – people like you – care deeply about making social and environmental impact a serious part of their day job. Only when employers get this truth will they begin to carve out real, measurable on-the-job impact opportunities for their employees.
So far, the response from employers has been extremely positive, which bodes well for our community of changemakers. Companies want to know what employees like you think, what brings you the most satisfaction from your job, and how you specifically want to be engaged. Are you anything like the two-thirds of graduating university students who tell us that making a difference through their next job is a priority? Or maybe you’re part of the 45% of students who say they would even take a pay cut to do so. But numbers only tell one piece of the story. Recently, I spoke with some Net Impacters who embody the human side of this research.
Natalie Fleming graduated from Arizona State University two weeks ago. She’s been applying to jobs since December, and even though she’s sent in over 50 job applications she isn’t giving up. Natalie wants a position with a mission, ideally in a values-based company. “I have a lot of passion,” she explains. “In order for me to keep my energy levels up and help others to do the same, I need to be doing meaningful work.”
Jon Chan received his MBA 10 days ago from the University of Illinois. He got hooked on impact work through a CSR internship at Allstate, and has chosen a full-time position with Hitachi Consulting largely because of their growing their sustainability practice. “Personally, I grew up blessed,” says John. “I want to be able to give back in any way possible. I believe people in businesses should be responsible for giving back.” Jon felt Hitachi Consulting was more authentic about sustainability than other consulting firms, and says he can’t wait to start his new role.
Jasdeep Garcha did a lot of social impact and social entrepreneurship work in college. Now, two years out of Duke, he’s a Program Manager at Microsoft’s Windows division. He’s also co-led Net Impact’s first corporate chapter, a group of 250 fellow employees who want to engage more deeply on social and environmental issues internally at Microsoft. "I’m passionate about this stuff, and I am also passionate about technology," says Jasdeep. “I met my technology passion with my day job. The Net Impact chapter allowed me to satiate the other part of who I am.”
So what will we do with this data? Net Impact will use What Workers Want, and stories like Natalie’s, Jon's, and Jasdeep’s, to make the case to employers that connecting people’s jobs directly to impact work can aid their recruiting efforts and help retain awesome talent. Want to help make this case with us?
- Pass around What Workers Want at work to get a conversation started with your HR director, your boss, or your fellow colleagues.
- Check out this video where I highlight some of our key findings and share it with your social networks.
- Join me for our Issues in Depth call on July 26 to talk more about how, together, we can build a workplace of the future that enables everyone to make a net impact at work.
When we spread the word about the importance of impact work, we can send the message to employers that it needs to become the norm in every sector, and every organization.