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Millennials and Corporate Social Responsibility

5 July 2016

Despite being known as the ‘selfie generation,’ millennials (born between 1980 and the early 2000s, according to a report in The New York Times) are equally embracing of corporate social and environmental responsibility; a business management practice that incorporates social and environmental concerns into regular business activities. From fair wages for employees, charitable donations, and transparent reporting to open-mindedness on diversity and lifestyle choices - millennials are taking a moral stance when choosing where and who they work for.


Social change is something millennials are focused on creating. By choosing work and brands with strong corporate social responsibility initiatives, they are expressing their values in a new and more forward thinking way - as well looking beyond traditional ways of measuring success, money and power.


The Deloitte millennial survey 2016 expressed that by 2020, two-thirds of millennials express a desire to leave their organisation by 2020. It also discovered that the greatest influence for 55% of these millennial’s decision making comes from their personal values. A healthy work-life balance is considered to be one of the most important factors, as well as flexibility and the opportunity to progress/be leaders. To not risk losing a large percentage of their workforce, businesses must learn from this generation’s values in the workplace and adjust how they nurture loyalty among them.


The behaviours, attitudes and perceptions of different groups of millennials and their engagement with companies around social and environmental issues was captured in the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR study. Gathering opinions of 1,020 employees, the study found growth in the number of staffers that want to work for a company that cares their values. It also showed that if your company is lacking a strong commitment to social or environmental causes, then an average of with 64% of employees say they would not work for you.


Known as the generation who spend most of their time of social media and grow up on technology, social media is a crucial platform in communicating with millennials. According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends Report, 62% visit a company’s social media site to get information about jobs. Millennials also preach individuality and are more about what their friends might think than their boss. 62% reported they would be willing to take pay cuts to work for a company that reflects their values.


Their participation and care about social causes is higher than any other previous generation, and with 61% of them worrying about the state of the world it makes them feel personally responsible. Through ambition and taking risks, they are not restricted by corporate constraints and it’s important companies understand that, from a millennial’s perspective, they are seeking an employer with a purpose beyond turning profit. A good example of this donating to charity, which according to the Deloitte study, 63% of Millennials do. Matching values and purpose of both parties is likely to build a stronger relationship and in turn a more effective workforce, as well as keeping them engaged and interested.


Millennials are also leading the mass exodus from traditional work environments to more forward-thinking workplaces that are both beneficial to their mental and physical well-being, as well as being more eco-social friendly. Slowly but surely companies seem to be picking up on this movement, and adapting themselves in order to ensure the best for their employees. This new workplace culture proves not only be to embraced by the younger generations, but also older employees who seem to be positive about the modifications happening.


If the change doesn’t happen, millennials around the world are taking matters into their own hands. With shifts in values and technology coinciding with shifts in the economy, this has lead millennials to spurn traditional jobs, be risk takers and make companies realise how important their ethos and social responsibilities are.


Are you a millennial professional, or someone working closely with them? Join the conversation on corporate social responsibility and more via our LinkedIn page!

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