Quick Consult is a series where members of our team share insights into questions and topics we hear are top of mind for pro bono practitioners at all stages. Jess Hammerman, a Senior Consultant & Market Lead in Taproot’s Advisory Services practice, provides a few tips to support employee recruitment. Check out Jess’ advice below.
We’ve been struggling to recruit employees for our pro bono program. What can we do?
You’ve built a great pro bono program and you have a group of motivated nonprofit partners eager to get started, but you’re struggling to get the right employees signed up. Does this sound familiar? We’ve seen this time and time again and wanted to share a few tactics that we’ve seen be successful.
- Engage business unit leads as champions and program participants. How many mass emails go unread in your inbox each day? How often are you checking your company’s intranet? The reality is that some of these traditional mass recruitment channels don’t always work as intended, and a more targeted recruitment approach through business unit leads will often prove more successful. Let’s say you’ve got several nonprofits looking for marketing support. Why not go directly to your senior marketing leaders and tell them about the nonprofits you’re hoping to support and the types of challenges they’ve identified? See if they’re interested in volunteering on the project themselves and ask for their support in recruiting their team to volunteer. We’ve seen a lot of success in increasing volunteer participation and getting the right talent engaged on a project when communication to employees is targeted and coming from their direct supervisor.
- Leverage your Business/Employee Resource Groups. Whether your company calls them BRGs, ERGs, or Affinity Groups, these groups are a powerful recruitment tool for pro bono programs. Employees join these groups based on their interests and background, and many view them as way to develop as a leader and expand their network within the company. These groups are often seeking out leadership development opportunities and ways to engage their members in the community. Collaborating with them on recruitment for programs can be a big win on both sides.
- Tap into what motivates your people. In other words, celebrate your employees, increase the stakes, and make it fun. Know what motivates your employees and see how you can integrate those drivers into your program. For those driven by recognition, explore ways for participants to get acknowledged by your CEO or Executive Team in the form of a letter or a town hall meeting. For those with a competitive edge, increase the stakes a little by incorporating a pitch competition with grant dollars to award to the winning team’s nonprofit client. For those looking to meet people within their company, give them some unstructured time to network during a social gathering at the start or end of the program.
There’s no single approach to ensure quick and easy employee recruitment within your company, because every company is different. Once you find one that works, stick with it. As the number of employees that have participated in your pro bono program grows, you’ll be able to leverage those people as ambassadors of this meaningful work for years to come.