By Nikki Parrotte (@nikki_parrotte)
Ahh, Millennials. The generation that wants, expects and needs. Sure, Millennials have received a lot of criticism over the past few years for the negative connotation behind these seemingly narcissistic traits, but consider the positive effects these driving forces of “wanting,” “expecting” and “needing” have on the way today’s corporations do business. Through the lens of Corporate Responsibility, you may reconsider the meaning of the stereotypes that label this generation, and even think twice about the potential this generation can contribute to your organization’s own Corporate Responsibility efforts.
Image courtesy of CauseCast
Millennials want transparency.
When it comes to purchasing a product, or investing time and energy in supporting a cause, Millennials want to know what they’re getting themselves into. They demand to know how and where a product was made, the extent of the impact the product has on the environment and just where the money they shell out for this product is going. It is the skepticism built by the open and flowing channels of free information that prompts Millennials’ desire to validate the source of their products and services. If a corporation is poorly communicating its business practices and procedures with its employees, partners or publics, there becomes a disconnect which sometimes translates to a hidden agenda. Transparency in today’s hyper-connected society is of the utmost importance. “Wanting,” in this case, serves as a motivator, and is actually a very good thing.
Millennials expect sustainability.
While responsible business practices include areas like economic, social and cultural sustainability, Millennials are usually pegged for their expectation of environmental sustainability. Aware of the rate of deterioration and depletion of our earth’s natural resources, this generation is more explicit than any in its expectations of corporations to use all available means to preserve and protect what we have left. As stated by my colleague in a previous Buzz Bin post, “It’s no longer just a good idea for businesses to instill sustainable business practices, it’s become an expectation.” To take it a step further, not only do they as consumers hold corporations to this expectation, but Millennials in the workplace highly value the opportunity for volunteerism and contribution to sustainable practices, as found by Deloitte’s 2011 Volunteer IMPACT Survey.
Image courtesy of Deloitte via VolunteerMatch
Millennials need accountability.
Accountability is phase two of transparency. While Millennials want corporations to be transparent in their business practices, this generation expresses a need to hold the same corporations accountable for staying true to these practices and their impact – during good times and bad.
Harness the want, the expectation and the need.
How will you harness the driving force behind Millennials’ wants, expectations and needs? Maybe you’ll task them with spearheading an internal Green Team or look to them for support in communicating your organizations strategic Corporate Responsibility plan via social media platforms. YourCause has a few additional ideas for reining in the power of Millennials’ expectations. In terms of tapping into Millennials’ potential to contribute to an organization’s Corporate Responsibility expertise, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
Share with us what has worked for you. We’d love to hear how your company is utilizing this power in the comments section or on our Facebook wall.