Corporate Responsibility. Companies do have responsibilities to the communities they serve. They have a responsibility to be environmentally conscious. They have a responsibility to treat their employees and community members with respect. They have a responsibility to give back to the communities that support them. This is usually in the form of monetary donations or the commitment of resources and staff to a cause.
I believe that companies have an additional responsibility. That is the responsibility to prepare the next generation of workers. This one not only serves others but is also self-serving. Businesses need qualified people to meet their objectives. Preparing today’s youth for that future is in everyone’s best interest.
First off is working with employees in their first job. WOW! Their first job. How exciting! How scary! Remember the old saying you only get one first impression. Well for them as an employee you’re it. Your their first impression of what “working” is all about. Imagine that first day. How nervous they are. Yet many companies cram a weeks worth of job and safety orientation down their throat in that first day. They are lucky if they remember where the bathroom is that first day and their employer expects them to remember all of that material? Seriously? Then they throw them into a mundane job with “on the job training” (also known as no training) and expect them to perform. They check in on them seldom and are lucky if they remember their name the second day. That’s a GREAT first impression. How do you think that employee feels about “work”. Something you have to do and would like to avoid? Probably, and that first impressions sticks.
What about this for an alternative? A full week orientation, low stress with information about the company history, why they should be proud to be a part of the team and how their contributions will be important to the company’s success. How about a structured training program with a mentor assigned to them. What if the supervisors and management meet with them daily the first week to answer questions and check in on their progress with lots of encouragement. When they get to their new job they get the why behind every what and learn the entire process and how their operation fits in. Let them know you have high expectations for them and every confidence they will achieve them. What do you think they will feel about”work”? WOW! I’m important! I really like working. And again, first impressions last.
This should be a part of every companies corporate responsibility. Teaching new employees that work is rewarding and not something to avoid. What a contribution to that worker and to society.
Recently Ebsco teamed up with Union High School in an intern program for manufacturing. We had the opportunity to work with three fine young men for the past few months. Tre. Jamie and John. Union High in conjunction with Tulsa Community College created an intense classroom curriculum preparing them for the internship. I was very impressed with the program. We had the opportunity to show our interns the entire process of our company and allow them to contribute. Let me tell you they all worked hard. This program has a lot to offer both the students and the employers. I am proud that Ebsco is a part of the program and look forward to participating next year. I hope that John, Tre and Jamie have all learned something while at Ebsco. Most importantly I hope they have learned that working is not a bad thing. That working offers a sense of accomplishment and can be enjoyable. If they did, then I would call it a success.
I applaud Union for realizing that all students may not attend four-year colleges and even if they do, learning how to become a part of the work team is essential to ones success. There are great careers available out there without four-year degrees and manufacturing is one of them. I encourage everyone to consider the college route but if it is not for them there are still wonderful opportunities. I am not a product of the four-year institutions and proudly call Tulsa Community College (Tulsa Junior College when I attended) as my alma mater.
The collaboration of Industry, Union High and Tulsa Community Collage is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work together. What better focus than preparing young men and women for the workplace.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to make plans for Tre, John and Jamie for next week.