This month, we welcome World Merit General Manager Marlou Hermsen as guest blog contributor. World Merit incentivise people to change society for the better. The more you do for the public good, the more opportunities open up for you at a personal and professional level.
Over recent years gamification techniques and reward mechanisms have been used extensively to promote goods and services. World Merit have applied these self-same principles, along with a large helping of creative zeal, to develop a very different approach to cracking some very big societal problems.
Be inspired, get involved, and above all, open your eyes to the potential of new ideas.
Sustainable recruitment - talent sourced on merit from a global pool
Global unemployment increased from 170 million in 2007 to nearly 202 million in 2012, of which about 75 million are young women and men. These figures don't take into account people who are in unstable jobs; not being treated well; or are heavily underpaid. Nearly 2.2 billion people, roughly half the world's population, still live below the US$2 a day poverty line. In too many places, having a job doesn't guarantee the ability to escape from poverty (www.un.org).
There are a multitude of career development opportunities out there, but unfortunately most of them are aimed at a very specific demographic. We need to combat one of the world's biggest problems - the under-utilisation of global talent. At World Merit, we believe the answer can be found in investing in talent and by providing opportunities to all, based on merit rather than social or economic background.
Regardless of where you are from or what type of education you have had, World Merit thinks that everyone who is willing to work hard should have equal access to opportunity - both personally and professionally. Our organisation exists to empower young global citizens to reach their full potential, by providing them with opportunities based on personal merit. The more they do for the good of society, the more opportunities open up for them.
If you take away what people write about themselves or how peers rate them, you strip down rhetoric. What 'we' are looking for is the amount of hard work people are prepared to put in. We base this on what we happen, not on a CV.
For anyone to benefit from the opportunities that World Merit makes possible, they must first commit to action. In our version of talent recruitment and investment, personal success is measured by sustainable, positive impact.
To demonstrate what this kind of approach can achieve, let's look at one of our recent projects in more detail. During Autumn 2015, World Merit collaborated with DriveWealth - a Wall Street strockbroker - to recruit a summer intern.
The main objective for DriveWealth in working with World Merit was to make a global, grassroots impact around financial literacy and personal budgeting.
As a team, we developed a radically inclusive challenge to educate people on these two topics and encourage them to pay it forward. Through five online modules on the World Merit platform, the World Merit community had an opportunity to develop their financial literacy and budgeting skills. But in order to be eligible for the internship at Wall Street they had to pay forward what they had learned to a minimum of ten young people in their communities - either of school age or from their own peer group.
Over 1,000 people took part in the online modules, across the globe. In total, over 150 workshops were organised, attended by more than 10,000 young people.
Participants and organisers gained more in-depth financial knowledge and developed various skills, ranging from money management itself, to event organisation; public speaking; impact-measurement and team-level communication.
As part of their application all participants uploaded pictures and footage of their workshops, together with reports on their reach and impact. This evidence trail became the recruitment process for the original DriveWealth internship. So marked was its success, that the company decided to take on, not one but two interns - Aqib from Pakistan and De-Graft from Ghana.
A few days after internships were awarded, I had a meeting with De-Graft at our country office in Ghana. He was clearly in awe about being given the internship. The thing is, no-one really 'gave' him that opportunity. De-Graft's drive and passion are inspiring - he put all of his energies in to the challenge and achieved great results. He never thought he would ever get to leave Ghana, let alone work for an established company in New York City. This experience, this summer, this new network will allow De-Graft to scale the impact that he is already making in Ghana so that even more people will benefit from his achievement and drive.
DriveWealth could easily have sourced a summer intern via more conventional channels. But the easiest route is not necessarily the one paying highest dividends.
De-Graft and Aqib would have continued to work hard to improve the circumstances in their communities. But this time, local, hard-working, talented guys from Ghana and Pakistan, got the sexy opportunity. I know they will bring the same commitment and talent to this internship as they have done to World Merit. I cannot wait to reflect with DriveWealth, Aqib and De-Graft on their summer and celebrate their personal and professional growth.
This is just one example from the many schemes we run at World Merit with the aim of tackling global issues via this rich global talent pool. The more people we involve, the more we can achieve - for ourselves, and for each other.
Anyone can be a changemaker.
Written by Marlou Hermsen, General Manager of World Merit
World Merit welcomes changemakers of all ages and all backgrounds. Find out more and sign up at: www.worldmerit.org