As we mark the third anniversary of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s abundantly clear that most of us think about work differently now. We see more clearly that our work is interwoven into our daily lives and that our careers have a significant impact on our quality of life — whether we are in a physical office or not. We also feel the call to be fulfilled and inspired by the work we do — life’s simply too short.

People don’t want to work just to have a job; everyone has a purpose and can leave a great legacy through their employment. That’s where our industry comes in: helping people find meaningful work and work in more meaningful ways. Every organization that improves lives and supports a functioning society is already in service to others. When we understand and make conscious decisions to serve our communities, we can succeed and make significant contributions.

Community impact. My brother and I founded ProLink on a foundation of service, and that value is woven throughout our company culture. We place a strong emphasis on giving back and making positive, tangible contributions to our communities. Our priority as leaders was incorporating these values into our businesses while protecting their financial health.

The principles of corporate social responsibility, or CSR, lay out a framework for businesses to engage with their employees and communities and provide the standards around sustainability and environmental efforts, philanthropy, ethical labor practices and economic responsibility. Research even tells us that CSR provides a return on investment, especially when CSR efforts are aligned with business priorities.

Conscious and creative. While ProLink engages in all facets of CSR, philanthropy and economic responsibility have been at the forefront of our minds in the past several years due to pivotal events that have brought a lot of needs and inequalities to light.

Financial giving is a highly accessible way to impact our communities. We make an impact when charitable organizations are able to utilize donations where they are most beneficial. At ProLink, we feel blessed we were able to donate more than $1.2 million last year to organizations that our employees told us are important. Even more significant than the financial giving is that our employees walked with those communities and served alongside them. We encourage every employee not to waste a single hour of the eight hours of paid volunteer time off available to them each year.

Impactful partnerships. Economic responsibility is not just about money; it’s about leveraging our resources to expand economic opportunity. As leaders, let’s challenge ourselves to look at our resources, identify others who would benefit from having access to them and then create opportunities that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

For example, in 2020, ProLink partnered with the McLendon Foundation to launch the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative, or MLI, whose purpose is to provide minority participants a jumpstart to their careers. To bring this initiative to life, ProLink leverages our expertise in staffing and technology to facilitate career and advancement opportunities for our “Future Leaders,” who are placed in paid internships with university sports programs. Participants are thoroughly screened so we can connect them with organizations that will offer full-time, permanent roles after the internships are completed. This partnership enables us to connect aspiring professionals with excellent career opportunities, and to date, MLI has achieved a 93% success rate, placing 120 individuals at universities across the country.

Connecting people and businesses. ProLink’s mission is to connect work and workers in meaningful ways where everyone can reach their potential and thrive. Recent history has shown just how important it is for us, as an industry and as business leaders, to work together for a better world. By nurturing our corporate culture and taking a thoughtful approach to CSR initiatives, we have an opportunity to build internal engagement, attract the best talent and make an impact on the lives around us. Let’s make CSR a lived experience.