Giving Can Attract & Retain Top Talent

Chelsea Woodhead, BuildASign.comIt’s estimated that by the year 2020, millennials (people roughly ages 18-35) will make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce – likely sooner in Austin due to our demographics. Now is the time for business leaders to look at the values and true motivators of millennial workers to get ahead of the curve to avoid losing some top tier future talent.

Over the last several years, all studies pertaining to the incoming millennial workforce have consistently agreed that these young professionals are looking for a company that gives back. They want to work for an organization that gives them an opportunity to make a difference in both their personal and professional life. These up and comers are turned off by employers that are perceived to be greedy or disengaged with their people, and instead will be looking for a giving, socially-conscious company to work for. It’s time to take a good look at your corporate commitment to philanthropy and determine if it is in alignment with the recruiting and staffing needs in the future.

Need some new ideas? Try:

  • Paid volunteer time off so your team members can volunteer and help causes during the week and employee donation matching to make their financial gifts go even further.
  • Encouraging employees to donate their professional talents or skills (and allow them time to do so). Many nonprofits are in need of a new logo design, website, graphics or flyers which are all things your web developers or designers could easily help out with. Nonprofits have limited resources so any professional help they can get is highly valued and helps your team fine tune their skills.
  • Ask your team what they care about! Don’t assume you know your people best and open the conversation. You may be surprised with what ideas and feedback they have.
  • Participate in hackathons, design blitzes, giving days and all the other great opportunities to give in Austin already existing. Don’t think you have to come up with something brand new just to be cool – find what exists and fits with your goals and start there.

Millennials have gotten bad reputation for some things, but they are extremely valuable employees with bright and creative ideas. Don’t let your lack of giving or philanthropic programming hold you back from recruiting – and retaining – them!


Chelsea Woodhead oversees communications, philanthropy, staff engagement and corporate culture at She joined in 2010 and helped launch the company’s formal Giving Program, which has provided more than $600,000 worth of in-kind donations to more than 750 nonprofit organizations to date. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Austin Pro Bono and is a member of the Junior League of Austin. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in public relations, political science and women’s studies from Gonzaga University.

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