To work pro bono is to work free of charge. Typically, people will offer their services pro bono to develop their personal character, network, and strengthen their skill sets among clients who could not afford their services otherwise. In addition to the person-to-person benefits of pro bono service, entire business departments can thrive by implementing a pro bono policy. In this article, we will focus on the human resource elements, addressing how Pro Bono work can be used to nail your human resource goals.
Human Resource Strategy
Every organization’s human resource strategy varies, but most, if not all, are centered around a few classic goals: sourcing, training, promoting, and expanding. Sourcing is the initial acquisition of a qualified employee, training them is getting them up to par with the company’s standards. Once on par, companies recruit internally for their next leaders. Having now raised the next generation of successful employees in the company, a business will look to expand its impact, thus leading to the need for new employees, restarting the cycle once more. Below, we will break down each one of these goals, and demonstrate how pro bono offerings fulfill their purpose.
1. Sourcing – Finding the right people
A recent Glassdoor study found that company “culture and values were the biggest predictor of employee satisfaction.” This trend is increasing as the millennial generation further echoes this sentiment since on average millennials are willing to give up “$7,600 in salary every year” to find more “purposeful work.” Clearly, company values are what attract talent. What better way to express that your business has a mission that isn’t mere greed and vanity than offering work pro bono?
2. Training – Developing the right people
Can you think of a more effective way for a new hire to be immersed in their training than to give them an actual project? Not only does letting your new hires work pro bono provide some serious hands-on-learning opportunities, but it allows a trainee to pick up on all the smaller details and hidden nuances normal training might have glossed over. Additionally, third party companies may be willing to offer further training for your employees for free if they know it’s pro bono work. A great example of this can be seen in the National Immigrant Justice Center, which offers pro bono training sessions to lawyers working pro bono. In other words, it’s pro bono in exchange for pro bono!
3. Promoting – Raising the right people
First, if you’re not promoting from within the company, then you’re making a mistake. As Chron, a news journal based in Houston, Texas, puts it: “promoting from within a company boosts morale and helps keep productivity high. New employees can see the potential for growth.” Promoting within is also easier since it saves time on recruiting a brand-new talent. The problem is that while managers usually can identify candidates for leadership roles, it’s nearly impossible to verify their actual ability to perform well in their anticipated role. So how do you overcome this hurdle? Simply assign them a pro bono project that is related to their current skill set, but delves into some other ‘unknown areas’ for them as well. The employee will either do one of two things: A) Reject the project on the basis that they are not being additionally compensated for it, which just proves they’re not fit for a leadership role given the amount of sacrificing it takes to be a thriving leader. Or, B) Happily accept the opportunity for growth, in which case there is nothing to worry about.
4. Expanding – Growing with the right people
To expand your business is to further your company’s mission to extend beyond its current impact or to shift directions. A quintessential aspect of business expansion is emerging into new markets, like when Netflix grew from the US to Canada in 2010. Regardless of the scale or type of shift, employees will experience some degree of change. Typically these changes are not good, as in the case of mergers and acquisitions, workers become less productive post-shift. Introducing your employees to variable roles, changes, and additional projects trains them for these experiences, which is why pro bono work is great for them. Plus, it reminds them of the company values, so that when uncomfortable changes occur, they are motivated to keep on pushing further!
Starting a Pro Bono Program
Now that you’ve been convinced pro bono work is extraordinarily beneficial in meeting your HR goals, how do you start your first pro bono project? Well, to save your company the hassle of finding clients to accept your pro bono work, head over to Joeprobono.com, register as a pro and get access to legitimate clients who would love the help you put out!