By Brielle Nalence and Lia Jones, Capital One
At the start of 2016, part of the Capital One Community Affairs associate engagement team was faced with a few challenging questions: How can we best utilize our associates’ skills and passion for volunteering, and encourage them to support the company’s philanthropic partners? How can we meet the needs of our nonprofit partners, a majority of whom are in the workforce development space, and want more interaction between our company and their clients? Finally, how can we create more ways for our associates to support the company's volunteer and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) goals, that doesn’t involve leaving the office?
Looking to create a win-win-win, our team evaluated our current resources, feedback we had received from associates regarding volunteerism, feedback from our nonprofit partners, and input from some of our senior leaders. These empathy efforts led to the design and launch of Capital One’s Future Edge @Lunch series - a bite-sized workforce development event wherein the clients (or students) of our nonprofit partners come to our offices for a two-hour session over lunch. This session includes a speed networking activity for clients to meet with Capital One associates, a financial education workshop that is tailored to what that group is most interested in learning, as well as head shots for any interested attendee. Other iterations of the event also included a session for resume reviews, using LinkedIn for job searches, and mock interviews. The event also includes a pre-event training for all Capital One associates, wherein they are introduced to the nonprofit partner to learn more about the specific clients they will be interacting with, as well as an overview of best practices for networking and workshop facilitation.
Recognizing that our Community Affairs team is an expert in many areas (but not all!), we made sure to include our business partners in the program planning and implementation. For example, we included leaders from our Human Resources line of business to facilitate the portions of the event involving resume and interview instruction, while we included leaders from our Retail line of business to facilitate the financial education workshops. Including these other lines of business also helped ensure that the Capital One volunteers in the room were diverse in background and skill set.
Hosting this event on-site and including associates from various lines of business and levels in the room also created a space for associates to learn more about our Community Affairs team and philanthropic strategy, and for our team to interact with those who may not regularly seek out company-sponsored volunteer events. The event series also created an opportunity for associates to learn more about our nonprofit partners, and to identify other ways they could personally or professionally work with these partners. For example, one HR professional discussed wanting to include some of the clients she met in her current recruitment process, while another professional from the Commercial line of business planned to reach out after the event to a young person he met whom he thought he may be able to mentor.