Ideas and insights > Using social good storytelling as a talent magnet to attract the next wave of workers.

Using social good storytelling as a talent magnet to attract the next wave of workers.

Our thought leader:

Chris Milan
Chris Milan
Director of Branding and Messaging

“Younger employees are more likely to join and stay with companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion, social and environmental responsibility, and employee well-being.”

Source: LinkedIn Talent Blog

The talent war rages on—and for many employers, the battle is for Gen Z (people born between 1996 and 2010). 

Recruiters in 2023 face a kind of perfect storm: a persistent labor shortage, still-high inflation, and a slowdown in wage growth. These factors combine to put businesses in a tough spot when it comes to attracting the next wave of younger workers, who are in demand for their energy and creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to expanding their skills—not to mention they’ll account for one-third of the workforce by 2025.

So when a company’s payroll budget is stretched thin, how can it successfully compete for emerging talent?

The good news: Gen Z is looking for more than a paycheck. Research shows that these workers are seeking jobs and employers that align with their values, such as the 67% who believe climate change should be a top priority and the 83% who consider an employer’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) when deciding where to apply and work. 

They also place great importance on doing meaningful work, having a healthy work-life balance, and working flexibly and autonomously. 

This means that when it comes to attracting and retaining these up-and-coming employees, companies that effectively communicate their social good commitments—including their stance and actions on environmental, DEI, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and charitable issues—have a definite advantage. 

Here are five ways a business can build an authentic narrative about their social good commitments that boost their recruitment initiatives—and help make them a Gen Z employer of choice.

1. Telling a compelling story.

People connect more deeply with stories than with facts and figures. So craft a social good story that communicates the “why” behind your company’s social good efforts—and use your own employees’ stories to show how they impact your people and culture. Seeing (and hearing!) your company’s values in action helps drive engagement with candidates and demonstrates the authenticity of your story.

Gen Z job-seekers spend half their day on social media—and 48% have applied to jobs they found there. So meet them where they are! Share real-time updates about your sustainability initiatives, volunteer activities, and more via posts and short videos with relevant hashtags. Engaging social content can be the key to capturing the attention of these digital natives seeking purpose-driven employers.

2. Transparency matters.

Gen Z grew up with social media—and they’re experts at distinguishing the doctored from the genuine. They’ll see right through hollow or performative social good endeavors. So don’t just say you’re “committed to sustainability”—show it through energy consumption stats, recycling programs, and partnerships with green initiatives. Transparency about your company’s social good journey is a crucial part of building trust with Gen Z (and other) candidates and employees alike. 

Don’t be afraid to share your setbacks along with your successes… but make sure you’re also clear about how you’re addressing them. Showing you take these issues seriously will help you establish credibility with Gen Z talent, who prioritize transparency in the job application process.

3. Leverage learning opportunities.

Gen-Z workers want to advance their careers quickly—and 76% view learning and development as the way to do it. So companies who want to attract and retain these go-getters can get more bang for their training buck by combining Gen Z’s passion for purpose with their love of learning. 

Try workshops and webinars led by sustainability experts, creating a curriculum around inclusive business practices, and teaching employees to lead green projects. Investing in these kinds of training opportunities can help employees feel more invested in your social good causes.

Remember that Gen Zers are digital natives used to accessing information in a few clicks or taps. To make their training more engaging, offer it online, provide downloadable materials and web-based videos, set up virtual study rooms, and hold Zoom, Meet, or Teams “office hours” where employees can virtually drop in to chat with social good instructors.

4. Make an impact—not just a statement.

Metrics matter when it comes to your social good story. All kinds of companies are making bold statements about their commitment to sustainability and DEI—but younger workers are looking for results, not just promises. In fact, a Deloitte survey found that 57% of Gen Z employees who are unsatisfied with their companies’ societal impact end up leaving within two years. So keep sharing your social good goals—but make sure to showcase real progress and tangible outcomes.

Consider creating an annual “impact report” detailing every project completed, every dollar spent, and every community touched. Highlight individual success stories to make your company’s journey more relatable. And support your numbers with emotional storytelling to make deeper connections with candidates and employees.

5. Keep your social good story fresh.

Gen Z’s lives move at the speed of a smartphone, and they’re always seeking fresh content to scroll through. So think of your social good messaging as a story that’s continually evolving. Provide regular updates on your sustainability and DEI initiatives on your company blog, post weekly employee stories on Instagram, even create an animated dashboard for your website showing real-time progress toward your social good goals.

Those younger workers you’re training can become your social good story ambassadors. Encourage them to share what they’ve learned on your company’s social media channels by creating short videos and other types of engaging content.

The next wave of workers has the power to shape the future success of your company. A compelling and authentic social good story—told in the ways younger workers relate to best—can become a magnet for attracting Gen Z talent and making them satisfied employees over the long term.

We can help you tell your most meaningful social good story—and boost your recruitment and employee engagement efforts. Get in touch to find out how.

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