Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Career planning across sectors: How can 3BL businesses attract the best values-based talent?

How career planning programs and internal innovation attract and retain talent in 3BL businesses.

When it comes to career planning, many triple bottom line (3BL) businesses want to attract and retain the best values-driven talent available. A way to do this is to attract graduating seniors and young professionals that are committed to social and environmental responsibility. At the same time as 3BL businesses are implementing strategies to do so, college graduates and young professionals wonder whether their best career planning strategy to pursue socially and environmentally responsible job opportunities would be in the private, public or non-profit sector. The good news is that students and professionals have more opportunities now to align their values with their paycheck across sectors. Indeed, through stronger public-private partnerships, social entrepreneurs, and increased strategic corporate social responsibility efforts, boundaries across sectors are blurring. Does this mean that more students and professionals are going to pursue job opportunities in the private sector? Or will students and professionals gravitate towards the non-profit sector? Or will they want to be of building a more equitable and environmentally responsible society through Federal, State or Local government work? Let’s investigate the current trends for insights on these questions.

First, what are graduating seniors doing? The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a survey of graduating seniors across 750 schools. Based on the answers of 16,5000 graduating seniors, the report indicated that, compared with the graduating class before them, graduating seniors were less interested in pursuing jobs in the private sector. Instead, more college seniors were primarily focusing on finding jobs in the non-profit and in the government sectors after graduation. From this data, it seems that recent graduates are more attracted to jobs in the non-profit and government sectors.

However, interesting insights can be found among reports from the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). In their 2010 strategic report, they cited an internal survey that indicated that 45% of respondents stated that they were considering leaving the nonprofit sector for their next job. While many respondents cite low wages and burnout as main drivers of their intention to switch sectors, 70% of respondents indicated that the lack of clear career ladder was key in their intention to switch to the private sector. Furthermore, the report cited a survey from CommonGood Careers that converged to show that the perceived lack of career ladders within the nonprofit sector was a big barrier for young professionals to stay in the sector. These results indicate that young professionals find it easier to develop their career planning strategies in the private sector, where the visibility of career advancement trajectories is higher than in the non-profit sector.

I believe that these trends suggest that 3BL businesses are offered a unique opportunity to engage young and seasoned values-driven leaders from the nonprofit sector to their business. To attract and retain talent, 3BL businesses will have to integrate career planning and skill development programs into their DNA. Strong organizational development and succession planning will be key to retain values-driven professionals that want to work for a company they can believe in. In future posts, we will focus on organizational development and succession planning strategies that 3BL business can implement to become a magnet for professionals that want to do business - better.

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