Though empirical studies regarding millennials in the workplace are difficult to find, interviews and surveys about the group abound. It appears there can be no doubt that at the top of the list of millennial expectations for the businesses they work for is a culture of giving back. For clarification in this article, I will define corporate citizenship as “incurring short-term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environmental change”.
Millennials, in general, decry corporate greed and rail against businesses and people who are selfish with what they have and this who negatively impact others. Conversely, those who show “above and beyond” kindness towards others – especially those in need – tend to attract positive attention and respect. It is not new that most businesses in existence are strong supporters within communities
It is not new that most businesses in existence are strong supporters within communities whether mom and pop stores or huge multinational corporations. It is likely you can go to any local store in your community and procure a donation of some sort for a little league baseball team, service trip overseas or school fundraiser.
How many restaurants have given tons (literally tons) of food to those in need? This goes back as far as there have been restaurants. Look at any corporation’s webpage and I bet you can find links to charities they support and initiatives to encourage employees to be active in giving somehow. So it isn’t just to impress this younger demographic that companies are doing good. But just how prominent corporate citizenship must be within the DNA of a company is ever increasing due to the expectation of this demographic. They want to know what a company is about and exactly what they do outside of themselves. With that in mind, here are offered three simple gems as they relate to your corporate giving movement.
1. Choose 1 or 2 causes your company commits to supporting
- Make these high profile on a regular basis. That should come naturally if you are truly committed to them
- Make these opportunities to corporately serve. If you struggle to know how to make that happen, I a great company that could help
- Make real and lasting impact with these causes, not a photo op. Millennials have a special radar that detects ‘posers’ so be genuine. You will make a much larger impact if your company personally cares and it will be difficult for that not to be contagious
2. Create and encourage opportunity for employees to make charity connections
- Allow absence for service. Not just for the company cause, but for some of their own. I know it sounds like lost productivity, but studies who the more satisfied your workforce, the more reliable, committed and motivated they will be. All are good for productivity.
- Have a committee for choosing corporate causes, with corporate resources. This is not rocket science. Who is not more engaged and interested when they have some skin inthe game.
- Have a community focal point to highlight your people’s involvement. Whether you use a break room bulletin board or a corporate employee web page, make sure there are updated pictures and stories about the good that happens with your people. This will encourage involvement and highlight the good in your people to your people. Some ‘aha’ moments will take place. “I didn’t know Jenna helped with the homeless. I’m going to ask about that” or “My experience with that guy hasn’t been so good, but anyone who rescues animals must be ok”
3. Create an atmosphere of care in the workplace
- Real corporate citizenship is not about the policies, it is about the people. A giving, caring and kind atmosphere is not an event, but a mindset. Does that start at the top? It can. And it should.But it doesn’t have to. It starts with anyone who chooses to make their world better. Their own sphere and the big sphere of earth. As a blueprint, I have what I call the Necessary Nine: Critical and Timeless Characteristics to Positively Influence People. Those will be unpacked in the next few posts.
And here is just a little tidbit that may or may not be a surprise… this kind of effort isn’t just about your millennial workforce. They did not usher it in and studies show that Boomers and Gen Xers in the workforce have the same expectations in this arena as their Millennial co-workers. No matter the makeup of your company, all will be motivated at as you move forward with your corporate citizenship