Emerging into the business world is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. As busy college students, we’re faced with packed schedules of work, school and family. As I enter into my first internship at Vehr Communications, I’m excited at the opportunities ahead of me. In a series of blog posts, I’ll highlight topics through the eyes of an office intern. Yes, I’m talking about the baby-faced, quiet, non-coffee drinking person, located in the back of your office.

Discovering the business world through the eyes of an intern will perhaps help future college students like myself find a great internship, but also, help business people to hire, manage, and work alongside a younger generation of growth-hungry, twitter-crazy, Instagramming millennials.

A fresh pair of eyes

Walking along Seventh Street in downtown Cincinnati on my first day at Vehr Communications, I noticed numerous people suffering from homelessness. The motionless faces I passed had signs asking for money, and bags marking their personal belongings. They each had a spot on the pavement that marked their designated “home” for that morning. As I walked, I began to wonder what companies in Cincinnati are doing to help these people and others who are in need in the local area.

For company leaders, implementing a social purpose — a company initiative to improve the community — improves employee morale, creates team building opportunities, benefits the local community and entices millennials like myself to apply for positions at the company.

  1. Improving employee moral. A company with a social purpose brings more depth to the brand because it creates a parallel between the employees and the community. Giving back elevates the values individuals stand for and creates an extra sense of pride toward the brand.
  2. Team building opportunities. A lot of companies get lost in profit maximization and quotas, and sometimes forget the people who are sitting at desks meeting those standards. A team that has engaged with the community to, for example, pick up trash, mulch in local gardens, fundraise, or serve those in need has fresh perspective and works more efficiently.
  3. Benefiting the community. There are thousands of local programs for businesses to participate in. Whether it is family holiday sponsorship, summer mulching, soup kitchen volunteering, trash pick-up or local hospital volunteer programs, there are many opportunities for businesses to engage in that will positively affect the area. For some, these may sound like small acts, but all of them individually impact families, the environment, the helpless and display a level of compassion that could never be portrayed through simply donating money (although, that’s great and necessary, too).
  4. Connecting with millennials. Implementing a company social purpose entices millennials. The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that millennials (just like myself) are 73 percent more likely to apply if a company makes a positive impact on the community. Designing a plan that has a social purpose attached to it will help employers keep/attract the younger workforce.

Companies and their employees have the opportunity to make a difference. As an intern with a fresh pair of eyes, I have learned that implementing a social purpose positively improves employee morale, creates team building opportunities, benefits the community and connects millennials like me to the company.