So what do young people really think about sustainability and community engagement? Is it that important to them? A differentiator in choosing an employer? A real opportunity to develop skills while making a difference? Or ... Are we just kidding ourselves?!
I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting our newly joined talent from the Apprenticeship Programme in our Telford office. I've always thought it incredibly important to spend face to face time with our people to bring the Community Programme to life. The impact made by talking about the difference we can make, opportunities to get involved and the 'why' is a million times more effective as part of a conversation than a hundred emails or articles could ever be.
So, I arrived to a very warm welcome from the team and then spent an inspiring two hours with our brightest new talent.
I was intrigued to see what their expectations were. Had they heard about sustainability? Did it matter to them? How would they react to the opportunities to get involved?
I joined Capgemini as a graduate in 1997... so I felt like there was some common ground and I could put myself in their shoes. Many had a good understanding of what sustainability was, particularly in an environmental context. The community element was a little harder to immediately understand. I then asked the group how they would like to feel at the end of their first year and what they wanted to achieve. “To have developed skills”; “ to feel happy”; “ to feel proud”; ”to have built internal and external networks” were some of the responses.
I have to say, I did breathe a sigh of relief as I was able to demonstrate how getting active in the community would support all of those things - and the group really then began to understand the benefits – both for themselves and for the business. ... something that many middle managers often struggle with!
Our new talent is hungry for opportunities to make a difference, learn new skills and stretch themselves. The buzz in the room as they brainstormed ideas was electric and they left feeling motivated, engaged and in control of doing something tangible - often difficult in your first few weeks in the world of work!
Do our people care or are we just kidding ourselves? My experience from Monday is a resounding YES, which offers great encouragement to me and the Community Engagement team to provide them with real opportunities to make a difference.