Despite the prevalence of millennials in the workforce — an estimated 50 million will be hired between now and 2025 — many of today’s executives see them as an enigma steeped in unfounded stereotypes, deeming the demographic lazy, entitled or difficult to manage.
Companies that eliminate that mindset and turn to actively recruiting young talent and engaging existing millennial employees will gain a competitive edge and get the employees and results they want.
One great way employers can engage millennials is by establishing and executing a “culture of good” strategy. Younger employees increasingly want to know they work for a company who is focused on helping the community and charitable causes. Here are two ways employers can create such a strategy.
1. Develop a cause close to home
Millennials want to work with purpose, and companies can attract them by establishing a work culture that aligns with their values.
Young people feel accountable for community issues and believe they are most able to make an impact through their work. Opportunities to give back at the local level, many of which are enabled by employers, provide millennials with a greater feeling of influence, according to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey.
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is focusing on national tasks when they should look to their own backyard for causes. Supporting organizations and people who are part of the local neighborhoods employees are serving goes a long way in building customer loyalty, as well as allowing millennials to use their skills for good and boost their sense of empowerment and meaning.
The first step to engaging young people in a company’s cause is establishing one. When considering a company’s next give-back initiative for its local communities, a company must do its research and find the company’s soul by being honest and discovering what its employees are passionate about.
For The Cellular Connection (TCC), a Verizon retailer with 800 stores in 38 states that developed their own Culture of Good program, that initiative was a backpack giveaway in the local communities where its stores are located.
TCC picked up on that, in 2016, the National Retail Federation predicted the average person with children in grades K-12 would spend more than $100 on school supplies. With nearly 20% of U.S. children living in poverty, TCC decided this was a social issue the company could make quite an impact on. The company now provides 100,000 backpacks full of school supplies to children in local communities annually.
2. Realize it’s not about looking good — but actually doing good
Millennials can spot companies that aren’t genuine.
Companies often spend billions attempting to be portrayed as good corporate citizens, but writing checks for large nonprofits isn’t the key to success in giving back. Instead, companies should build their business as one that’s concerned with the welfare of others. This is especially important in the modern reputation economy, where customers and millennial employees value companies doing noticeable good.
Create a Culture of Good that millennials are attached to by establishing a business as a group of people truly engaged in doing good in the community because it’s the right thing to do. Those initiatives will show the company is willing to leverage its assets to give back outside of its four walls and 9 to 5 workday and, in turn, recruit millennials and keep them engaged in their work long term.
Today’s young professionals are motivated by their values, not money, and the modern workforce is demanding that corporate responsibility isn’t a stand-alone, afterthought program. For top companies, a Culture of Good is the core of their business, and millennials are taking notice.