Posted on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
Through our work with over 150 brands and organisations we’ve seen a variety of approaches to youth engagement in terms of focus, scale and impact. We’ve also seen how some businesses progress through stages of involvement with young people to eventually reach a position where their impact is maximised across the organisation. We consider this to be the most advanced stage of three possible stages of business involvement with education. We call these three stages the ‘3 Generations of Business Engagement with Young People’.
Discover what ‘Generation’ your business is using our free, interactive self-assessment tool or keep reading to learn more about what each ‘Generation’ looks like.
The 3 Generations of Business Engagement with Young People
A lot of business involvement with young people starts with a focus on one of the four main areas of impact – social, brand, corporate or people. We consider this the 1st Generation of Business Engagement with Education. It could be one or more very worthwhile projects or campaigns such as careers advice and work placements, relationships with local schools, curriculum packs or websites, a national competition, or support for a specific education or youth charity.
The 2nd Generation of Business Involvement with Young People is often characterised by an increase in scale:
- More activity – more programmes initiated or supported
- More volunteers involved
- A wide range of types of involvement
- Some impact measurements in place
There is a sense that the company is doing many good things, in several areas, but questions about ‘Why?’, ‘What is the benefit?’, and ‘Is this the best we can do?’ cannot be easily answered. Many companies exist in this 2nd Generation.
The 3rd generation looks and feels different, because it is.
It is characterised by a singular, communicable purpose that answers; “why we are involved with young people and what do we aim to achieve?’. It can be understood and communicated from Chief Executive to the newest apprentice. It has purposeful objectives and a strategy to meet them. A 3rd Generation approach also:
- Makes clear use of corporate strengths and skills
- Is always relevant – relevant to the company, colleagues, customers and young people
- Is not measured by scale alone, but by impact – on brand, on people, on corporate ambitions, and on society
You do it not just because it’s good to do, but because it is valuable to do. Stop and think for a second – do you recognise yourself and your organisation in one of these generations?
The 3rd Generation of Business Engagement with Young People is a win, win, win. For your business, for young people and for your brand.
Importantly, when looking at Education and Young People it’s not that 1st Generation is ‘Bad’ and 3rd Generation is ‘Brilliant’. It’s that the 3rd Generation is more impactful, more focussed on your business needs and strengths and it delivers more. But it takes work and it takes thinking.
The first step is to work out what generation your business is in. Use our interactive self-assessment tool to understand this better and see with greater clarity what your organisation needs to focus on to take your activity from ‘Good to Brilliant’.
This is the second in a series of four bitesize guides where we’ll show you how to take your work with young people from ‘Good to Brilliant’. You can read the first guide, about the four critical areas of impact your youth engagement strategy needs to focus on, here.
Next week we’ll show you in greater detail what a 3rd Generation strategy looks like by taking you behind the scenes at Sky, an organisation well on it’s way to reaching ‘Brilliant’.