Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Want to Recruit and Retain the Best People?

To recruit and retain the best, Colorado companies promote "Give First"

ColoradoBiz Staff //December 5, 2018//

Want to Recruit and Retain the Best People?

To recruit and retain the best, Colorado companies promote "Give First"

ColoradoBiz Staff //December 5, 2018//

In Colorado's competitive job market, more local business leaders are realizing they can benefit from sustained, proactive, affirmative programs to give back. Consider this: A whopping 41 Colorado companies appeared in Outside magazine's 100 Best Places to Work in 2017, including the top four spots. Among the companies that make this list, charitable activities rank high on the list of factors supporting the decision-making, and for good reason.

In his annual letter to CEOs, BlackRock chairman and CEO Larry Fink described the business imperative to be more proactive in community affairs: 

"Society is demanding that companies, both public and private serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society."

It's no wonder more Colorado companies are finding their ways to help employees make a difference in the world – and locally – by welcoming opportunities to volunteer and support the community. Not only does this produce meaningful and immediate dividends within the community, embracing corporate philanthropy can play a major role in the recruitment and retention of teams.


For many, the feeling that the work they do on a daily basis is impactful, fulfilling or changing the world for the better, is crucial to job satisfaction. Only about half – 49 percent – of American workers say they are satisfied with their current jobs, and almost all employees continue to seek more time off and a better balance between work, life and leisure. In fact, according to a study by WalletHub, Colorado ranked second nationally when it came to the most attractive states for employment.

Millennials will soon make up nearly 50 percent of the workforce and companies are radically evolving their value propositions to attract and retain this socially conscious group. By integrating a deeper sense of purpose and responsibility into the work experience, companies will be able to better recruit millennials and post-millennial employees.

"Corporate and social responsibility has become an integral part of Scaled Agile's culture and is part of what attracts new hires to the organization," says Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe and chief methodologist behind Scaled Agile. "As a fast-growing company building a global team, we see how important this is to professionals as they seek jobs where they can make an impact and feel that they are giving back to society."

A recent study revealed 81 percent of millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship, and 76 percent would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company. Not only do millennials want to work for companies that are doing good, they want to be involved in the action. Consequently, corporate philanthropy can be a great recruiting tool.

"As a growing startup, hiring great people is our biggest challenge," says Fletcher Richman, CEO and co-founder of BubbleIQ, a Boulder-based firm that connects helpdesk systems, such as Zendesk, with real-time communications tools like Slack, to help customer support and IT teams streamline workflows and improve response times. "During the recruiting process, we aren't able to compete with big companies on salaries or fancy offices."


Volunteering has evolved into a key element of employee engagement programs and as a result, volunteer programs are increasingly becoming a must-have perk for employees. When companies ask their employees to give back, including disaster relief efforts or crowdfunding support, they are ultimately empowering their staff to take on an increased role in making the world a better place.

Offering social responsibility programs not only enhances a company's reputation, it helps companies retain their best and brightest employees. Earlier this year, The Washington Post revealed that several companies have found this type of perk helps them retain workers by letting them become involved in the community without giving up PTO.


When a business encourages its employees to participate in service or volunteer their time, workplace morale improves as each employee feels they are making a difference.

Whether employers offer volunteer opportunities or matching contributions in their name, companies are discovering that getting involved int he community doesn't just help locally, it boosts mood and improves culture. 


One vehicle with growing popularity among local companies is Pledge 1% Colorado, a partner in a growing global movement that encourages and empowers companies of all sizes and states to give back locally/ Pioneered by companies including Salesforce and Atlassian, along with local companies like Scaled Agile, Rally Software and Gnip, businesses donate 1 percent of their staff time, equity, product and/or profit to any cause of their choosing.

Since Pledge 1%'s inception in Colorado, companies have generated nearly $75 million for Front Range nonprofits, creating a tangible impact on their communities just by building great businesses. Earlier this year, Boulder-based Scaled Agile Inc., a member of Pledge 1%, donated $175,000 to six Boulder county nonprofit groups. The donations were coupled with a company-wide day of service, which featured more than 50 employees volunteering at each of the nonprofit organizations.

"From Tendril … to Misty Robotics, I've seen firsthand how taking a pledge to give back can materialize into tangible and meaningful dollars to support the community in which we live," says Tim Enwall, founder and CEO of Misty Robotics. "It's been fulfilling for employees of all three companies to join in leaving a legacy of giving back to impactful organizations that support those in-need where we and our families live, and this has been a great source of pride."

Better yet, this positive impact allows participating companies to show the best and brightest potential employees that they care about giving back.

"During every interview, I tell potential new employees why we chose to donate equity to Pledge 1% Colorado and how that relates to our core values as a company," said Richman. "That's a huge part of what has helped us attract top talent and helps get every employee bought in on the bigger idea that we're all working toward building a great company and an even better state to live in."