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How two purpose-driven co-founders are improving talent acquisition

Purpose-driven founders today are proving that when it comes to social and environmental responsibility, we can all make a difference, even in unexpected industries. Tasheyia Thomas and Greg Kunsman have done just that with NuWave Talent, a talent search firm dedicated to helping impact-oriented organizations find employees who align with their purpose in a meaningful way. 

Rooted In Purpose

Even before Tasheyia and Greg met each other, they individually knew that many employees in the creative and marketing industries didn’t feel engaged with work.  When the two connected at an industry event, Greg was leading a division focused on the marketing/advertising space at a boutique recruiting agency and Tash was working at a major advertising firm in New York.  Both had heard similar stories from the creative and non-creative talent they were working with–many skilled, motivated people felt stuck working on brands that didn’t align with their values and that weren't making any meaningful contributions to a sustainable future.

These anecdotes are part of larger workforce trends.  According to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace Report only 33% of US employees feel engaged at their jobs. Another recent poll found that 76% of Americans want to be employed somewhere that “is trying to have a positive impact on the world.” Clearly, much of the public has a desire to work for more than a paycheck.

With such realizations in mind, Greg and Tash decided to blaze a new trail in the talent acquisition space, founding NuWave in 2019.  They opted to bootstrap the company, focusing first on more traditional hires while building a deep network of great talent. Greg notes, “We knew we needed to develop a recruiting agency that was different—one that helped connect purpose driven organizations with talent who are craving more meaning and impact in their work.  We set out to develop stronger relationships with talent and get a better sense of their core values.”

Growing Thoughtfully

Now that NuWave has matured, it's on to phase two–connecting their vast network of talent with opportunities that are both fulfilling and impactful. For this transition, NuWave established their own set of metrics for purpose-driven hiring based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The UN SDGs are a set of 17 goals established in 2015 to promote sustainable development around the world including poverty alleviation, human health, and environmental stewardship. It’s a broad and important undertaking that requires consistent, targeted effort from all kinds of organizations.

To that end, NuWave has chosen to channel much of their efforts supporting Human Rights, Climate, Education, and Conscious Consumption.  To make this focus more actionable, NuWave has a set of internal indicators that guide their partnerships and business development targets. For example, NuWave vets potential employers’ mission statements, ESG reporting, progress on social and environmental goals, and fair labor certifications. Ultimately, NuWave is focused on helping organizations that are making meaningful efforts to support Sustainable Development Goals.

NuWave also has guidelines to help ensure that talent will be placed in environments that support employee well-being and retention. Their process assesses company culture as a whole, employee reviews, programs for engagement and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DEI), and policies to support physical and mental health. While these metrics are all hot topics for 2023 (making them top of mind for employers and employees alike), they’re also a vital part of building a successful, impact-driven organization. High-profile outlets like Harvard Business Review have noted that inclusive, diverse teams with shared values perform better.

Leading with Passion and Experience

Ensuring that organizations’ impact efforts are sincere is personally important for Tash and Greg.  Tash is a Dreamer and Greg is a member of the queer community. Both have made it their mission to use their company to pave the way for others. They’ve built their internal leadership philosophy around supporting employee mental health and empowering others. Tash comments, “we put our heart and soul into this.” 

By practicing leadership and starting NuWave, Tash and Greg are now able to shape the paradigm of talent acquisition and purpose-driven businesses in the US. This comes in the form of who they help get hired and also in their position as business leaders. Only 6% of Dreamers have launched their own business in America and only 4% of US businesses are fully owned by members of the LGBTQ community, with an additional 2% partially owned by LGBTQ community members.  These founders are actively blazing a trail for their communities on multiple fronts.

So, what’s next for NuWave? The company is positioning itself for growth in the remainder of 2023 and into 2024 with a rebrand and deeper participation in social and environmental impact spaces along with continued involvement in marketing and advertising industry events.  Greg and Tash look forward to these opportunities to meet more people who share a commitment to making the world better, one job, one talent at a time.

NuWave’s co-founders each come from diverse backgrounds and have lived experience navigating these experiences in organizations. They have experience advising organizations on these issues. Let’s talk.

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