Because Brocade recognizes that ‘early career’ talent can have a positive business impact, every year we invite bright minds from leading universities – such as U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, University of Colorado at Boulder, San Jose State University and others – to join Brocade. So far this fiscal year 35 recent graduates said YES to launching a career at Brocade, towards our goal of more than 60 college hires and 35 interns. In very short order, these talented minds are helping to develop cutting edge networking solutions, while infusing us with ideas and millennial spirit.
To get them prepared and ready for success, these new Brocadians invest 2 weeks in an intensive immersion program – our University Development Program (UDP). We just concluded our 26th ‘Class’. During UDP, participants receive communication and presentation coaching, engage in workshops about our business practices and partner ecosystem, enjoy team building and volunteer activities, and work in teams on a Capstone to develop solutions to real-world projects. UDPers also hear from leaders across the business through a Speaker Series. I had the pleasure of spending an hour with the entire group as part of that series. Millennials have a passion for Corporate Responsibility (CR), and I was eager to engage in dialogue with them.
Here is where the 'something new' kicks in. Typically, and dare I say unfortunately, when preparing to share information about CR, I instinctively open PowerPoint and start to build a deck of slides. I wasn't going to fall into that trap, again.
Instead I developed a Bingo game by creating a set of questions around pillars of Brocade's CR platform - Community, Diversity & Inclusion, Government Affairs, Supplier & Environmental Responsibility and Wellness. I blended questions that would highlight facts about Brocade's program, share 'best practices' in the field of CR, and provide resources to publicly available benchmark data. The answers were factual with a few random, wild choices for fun. The intent was to not only focus on what Brocade is doing, but what industry is doing, and why.
According to Luke Basaca, HR Representative at Brocade, “Recent University graduates are looking to make an ‘impact’, and this presentation was a fun way to inform new employees about the multiple ways they can make an impact in their professional lives, particularly at Brocade.”
Many of the questions and answers became sparks for conversation with the group - getting to know more about their perceptions, ideas, and overall interest in civic matters. For me, it was a fun and interactive way to share strategies, outcomes and goals without feeling like I was doing another boring presentation.
One new Brocadian remarked that “I was eager to learn about CR but not looking forward to another long presentation. Making it a game was fun and informative. It gave me new presentation ideas and showed that Brocade will be a great place to work.”
And, to top it off, towards the end of the game, everyone shouted ‘Bingo’ and was rewarded with credits to Brocade’s employee giving platform, to make a charitable donation of their choice.