Engage Employees While Supporting Youth in Need

A socially conscious company isn’t merely a preference—it’s an expectation for millennials, who will comprise approximately 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. Nearly two-thirds of this generation won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.

As more businesses recognize the value of connecting their employees to causes they feel passionate about, an important question arises: Where to start?

“We want to inspire 100 percent of our employees to do at least one charitable activity every year,” says Amanda Fowler, Executive Director, Global Corporate Giving, Edwards Lifesciences and Edwards Lifesciences Foundation. “A personal favorite of many employees to support and volunteer with is Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

Youth mentoring nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters connects children facing adversity one-to-one with a volunteer, allowing them to build meaningful relationships so they can achieve their full potential. One of three programs, Workplace Mentoring brings high school students (“Littles”) to company headquarters once a month for 90-minute sessions facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“Offering our employees opportunities to give back and support Littles while on our campus is a win-win: Our employees can spend more time with mentees [instead of] traveling and mentees get to see firsthand what it’s like to work on a corporate campus like Edwards’,” Fowler explains. “What a smart, strategic way to connect at-risk kids to professionals who want to and can make such a difference.” A Deloitte Impact Study reveals that companies—like Edwards Lifesciences—that have a clear CSR policy will succeed in boosting staff morale, leading to a more engaged workforce.

Across all of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Workplace Mentoring sites, 82 percent of employees report feel more valued by their company after participating in the program.

“We have enjoyed providing input into the monthly curriculum, as it has helped us become more involved,” says Workplace Mentoring volunteer Kip Bagley, Vice President, EMCOR Services Mesa Energy Systems. “We see the impact and hope this can be communicated to future companies thinking about joining the program.”

Every year, an estimated 450 to 550 billion dollars is lost due to decreased productivity from disengaged employees, which stems from more than just a paycheck. Employees value a job that can give them a sense of purpose within their community. They want to be active participants in furthering their employer’s social commitments.

“Becoming a mentor has changed my outlook in many ways. Seeing the world through Manuela’s perspective has reminded me that sacrifice is a part of life, and acts of kindness, no matter how small, make a difference,” says Workplace Mentoring volunteer Allison Cheim, of Walt Disney Co. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this young woman, and I know I will be there to support her along the way.”

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