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Millennials: caring about work and working to care

Millennials: caring about work and working to care

International forum tackles employee engagement and impact measurement

Wellington, 30 August 2018 – Millennials care about causes. According to a global 2017 study of corporate social responsibility (CSR), four out of five (79 percent) graduates today consider a company's CSR commitments when deciding where to work.

There’s a lesson in that for businesses looking to hire the best of a new generation of committed talent. And it’s not enough to give an annual donation to a favourite charity: millennials want their association to be active not passive. CECP's 2016 Giving in Numbers found that employees’ participation rates in volunteer programmes rose from 28% in 2013 to 33% in 2015, especially when employees are offered skills-based volunteer programs. Moreover, they want to help by doing what they’re good at, using their expertise for good.

The challenge for any company implementing a CSR programme is to create one that simultaneously appeals to employee’s passions, aligns with business goals, addresses critical community issues

and delivers measurable social impacts. How best to achieve this is the primary focus of case studies, discussions and workshops at a one day international forum, Working on Purpose. The forum will be held at Papa Hou in Christchurch on 28 September as part of Social Enterprise World Forum 2017.

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Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Abbie Reynolds says it is a big deal that New Zealand is hosting Social Enterprise World Forum this year. “Business can be a real force for good in the world, and social enterprises embody that, using business ideas in service to improving social or environmental outcomes.

“This international forum is an opportunity for New Zealanders to think about how we can support this sector to go further. Social enterprises could transform the way we do business. Around the world, they are growing in number, success, customers and in new markets.”

“Corporate giving used to be defined by cash and unskilled volunteering,” says Louise Aitken, Ākina Foundation General Manager. With the rise of social enterprises companies are beginning to realise that skills-based contributions are even more valuable. And it cuts both ways: employees get to use their expertise for good while the company demonstrates the skills and efficiencies it brings to the market every day.

A focus on making use of employees’ skills allows business to adopt more innovative approaches – for example giving employees access to online tools that allow them to help nonprofits using their high value skills through virtual volunteering opportunities.

“Using a skills-based approach also enables companies to support a broader, more fulfilling set of programmes,” says Louise. “The traditional model of selecting a single companywide beneficiary won’t please all employees. That one-size-fits-all approach limits engagement. People like to choose.”

Working on Purpose will be New Zealand’s largest international event dedicated to corporate social responsibility and is being organised by SAP, with support from the Ākina Foundation. Keynote speakers and workshop facilitators include:

• PETER HOLBROOK - Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK

• ABBIE REYNOLDS – Executive Director, Sustainable Business Council

• PAUL DUNN - Four-time TEDx speaker and Chairman, B1G1: Business for Good

• STACEY SHORTALL – Partner, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, 2016 Woman of Influence and Trustee, WhoDidYouHelpToday

• JAN OWEN – CEO, Foundation for Young Australians

• DAVID SAVAGE - Facilitator, inspirational speaker and corporate leadership specialist

Registration for Working on Purpose costs $250. Ākina will invest any proceeds from the event into supporting emerging and established social enterprises to scale and succeed. For more information visit


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