For years, we’ve been inundated with articles outlining the many ways that millennials are different from previous generations. They’re entitled, their attention spans are short, they’re killing the napkin industry – the examples are endless.
Most people realize that millennials are just people, and that the similarities between generations outweigh their differences. But millennials now make up the largest proportion of the workforce, so it makes sense that companies are devoting a lot of resources to uncovering the values of this generation in order to better attract and recruit them. Some of the resulting research has uncovered several subtle differences in the ways that millennials approach work and life goals.
Take one 2017 study from Deloitte, which found that millennials seek a sense of empowerment and purpose on the job. The study revealed that millennials feel more “accountable” for societal issues, some of which include protecting the environment and social equality. They also feel that the workplace is where they have the most influence to have a positive impact on these issues. This suggests that millennials often seek out companies that empower them to put their skills towards the causes that matter to them.
What this mean for employers: companies can better appeal to millennial job seekers by being more socially responsible. Creating a socially conscious and ethical work environment can help you solidify an employer brand that aligns with the values of millennial job seekers. And not only will you be able to attract great candidates, but your current employees will also feel happier and more engaged. Added bonus: social responsibility doesn’t just attract great candidates and bolster your employer brand. It also has a positive impact on your customers. Customers are just as likely to be affected by the reputation of a company. Remaining socially responsible can help you both attract new customers and retain the customers you already have by building brand loyalty.
What are some immediate steps you can take to become more socially responsible? You can create opportunities for your employees to give back in the workplace. For example:
- Set up monthly or quarterly volunteering events in your local area. Not only is this a great way to give back, but it’s always a chance for your team to bond. Some great volunteering activities available in a lot of cities include volunteering at food banks, reading to kids, or beach/nature cleanups.
- Sign your company up for charity runs. Create a team name and consider designing some shirts with your company’s logo. This is a great chance to support a cause while staying active.
- Consider making donations in your employees’ names. For example, you can offer your employees an annual donation to a charity of their choice as part of their benefits package.
But don’t stop there! If you’re a company that already does a lot of socially conscious things, that’s great! But it doesn’t do you much good in the recruiting sphere if your prospective candidates aren’t aware of the great things you do. Not every company is large enough to be a household name or to get press coverage every time they do something charitable. But there are plenty of ways that smaller companies can get their values across to applicants. Some examples:
- On every job description, when you describe your company, make sure to mention some of the volunteer activities or socially-minded events in which you participate.
- Any time your company participates in charitable activities, post it to social media! This may feel like shameless self-promotion, but it doesn’t just benefit your employer brand. It also serves as free promotion for whatever organization you volunteered with, something that any non-profit organization will appreciate.
- Take pictures and post it to your company website or on your Glassdoor company profile. This showcases your company’s socially conscious efforts while also providing insight into the work culture at your organization.
With all of these benefits, being a little more socially responsible is a no-brainer. But don’t feign social responsibility purely for the sake of your reputation. Most job seekers are savvy enough to see through that. If you incorporate more empowering opportunities into your work culture with an open heart, not with Machiavellian cynicism, your company culture will improve and talented millennial applicants are sure to follow.