Meet Your Employees: The Millennial Generation

Today, Millennials are the largest generation in the US workforce. They hold jobs in every field–from academic to technical–and getting to know them and understanding their needs is critical to creating a workplace that is prepared for the challenges that will arise over the coming years. Do you know the millennial generation in your workplace? How prepared are you for both the benefits and the challenges that they will bring to the table?

Millennials are Socially Active

When it comes to charitable giving Millennials are active across a broad number of causes and they want to be part of companies that provide avenues to enhance and amplify their impact.  In addition,  companies that are committed to sustainability, social responsibility, and charitable causes are more likely to attract millennial employees AND customers. A number of recent studies about giving patterns of this group reinforce the importance of linking social strategy to overall business strategy:

  • 62% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a company that is socially responsible.
  • 86% will buy products with positive social or environmental impacts if they have the chance.
  • 86% of female millennials and 77% of millennial males hold companies accountable for producing the results they’re looking for.
  • 81% of affluent millennials have made a donation to a cause that they care about in the past 12 months.

Millennials are getting serious about the causes that are important to them–and smart companies give them the opportunity and resources to expand their giving footprint.

What Millennials Care About

There are a few key factors that distinguish  Millennial giving from other demographics and it’s critical for companies to not only understand these nuances but develop unique and differentiated programs to set themselves apart from their competitors. In this New Age of Giving it’s not enough for a company to build charitable strategy solely around causes that align with the mission statement, values, and purpose of the organization. Today’s companies must provide more flexibility in their approach to giving and this starts with including employees directly in corporate giving decisions.  In order to effectively navigate the changing landscape a few additional traits of your soon to be largest employee group are important to understand:

Most millennials donate to 3-5 causes or charities each year. They aren’t focused on giving in a single way; rather, they’re willing to shift their giving according to the cause that’s most important to them at the moment.  But they don’t just randomly support charities either. Instead, Millennials spend much more time researching how the organizations they support are directing their funds, and how efficient they are giving those funds away.

Millennials think that their resources are just as important as their money–if not more so. They’re just as likely to donate time as they are to donate money. As a result, they appreciate companies and organizations that give donations in the same manner. New Age companies need to think about linking volunteer programs with compensation that is tied directly to charitable organizations and find partners that help them construct these types of giving platforms.

90% of millennials with an MBA would rather work for organizations that are socially responsible. They genuinely care about ethics and morality–in many cases, more than they care about things like the salary you’re offering and even the traditional benefits packages.

Millennials care about the issues impacting the world. From climate change and agriculture to issues concerning equality for women and girls, they’re paying attention to the global discussion, and they want to be part of the solution. When your company offers them that opportunity, they’re more likely to get on board and stick with your company even if so-called better opportunities come their way.

Offering Proof

The vast majority of millennials are no longer willing to give blindly–and they don’t want companies that give blindly, either. Instead, they want proof. Millennials have grown up knowing that not every organization gives differently. Millennials don’t just want a blanket statement that your company is committed to giving. They want to see tangible examples.  This might include:

  • Community outreach, from donating a playground structure to purchasing new uniforms for a kids’ sports team.
  • Giving statements that include information about where the money is going.
  • Annual reports both from the company and from the organizations the firm has chosen to support and the impact this support has made.
  • Specific corporate programs focused on empowering employees such as volunteering and vacation day transfer programs or work days dedicated to local charitable causes

Appealing to the millennial generation isn’t just about offering a great workplace environment. They’re committed to their causes, and they want to work for companies that offer that same commitment. Corporations that focus on actively engaging WITH their employees around giving will have a better potential of attracting and retaining talent from this important group.

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