by Janet Ervin

Torrent Consulting is a technology startup that offers Salesforce consulting and implementation services to mid-sized businesses and nonprofits across the country. Headquartered in Charlotte, the 120-person company also has offices in Ann Arbor, Kansas City, Washington, DC and Antigua, Guatemala. They are passionate about Salesforce and building strong businesses processes – but they are even more passionate about impact.

When Torrent launched their social impact strategy in 2018, they chose to integrate an apprenticeship program called Torrent Academy for young adults directly into their business model. Torrent Academy is a two-year program that offers technology training and education funding for students who have barriers to a traditional college education. Students train at Torrent, then go to work on project teams, fulfilling Salesforce work for clients across the country. So far, every student to go through the program has continued at Torrent in a full-time role. Learn more about Torrent Academy by checking out this video.

Here are three things we learned from our conversation with Torrent Consulting CEO Daniel McCollum and Impact Manager Ana Lu Gadala-María:

  1. Impact can align with a company’s business model. 

Torrent wanted their social impact to integrate with company life. When leadership began planning their social impact strategy they looked at causes their employees were drawn to – and also at business challenges that needed solving. For years, the demand for tech talent in the US has outpaced the number of students graduating with tech degrees. In a tech consulting company this is a particular challenge and the company was constantly searching for talent to keep up with project demands.

When Torrent learned that many of its employees cared about workforce development, education and economic mobility they saw a perfect pairing – and Torrent Academy was born. The Academy offers game-changing opportunity for students without access to traditional technology training and jobs – while also creating a dedicated pipeline to support Torrent’s growing need for Salesforce talent.

2. Younger employees desire meaningful work

“The talent market is changing and younger employees want the opportunity to use their skills and find purpose in their work,” noted Daniel. “Many people who interview with us tell us they want to do the thing they are passionate about – technology – while also finding meaning and supporting their community.” This is consistent with national data that shows the changing expectation of Millennial and Gen-Z workers. Many next generation employees have changing expectations for what social impact looks like at work and want to be able to participate directly in those activities.

3. Focus on one or two things you can do differently.

When asked what he would tell other companies looking at their impact strategy, Daniel acknowledged that a fully integrated impact program may not be for everyone. “I would advise any company to look at the one or two things they could do differently,” he said. “Start small and align your impact with things you already do well and feel drawn to – what can you do today that will make an impact in your business and community?”