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Millennials — a buzz word — also described as ‘Generation Y’ (the generation born from the eighties to the noughties), have grown up with the world at their fingertips — access to everything through the Internet and social media. They can be a fearless generation, believing perhaps more than any before them that their voices can make a difference. As an employer, you should not underestimate their power; by 2050, they’ll make up half the global workforce. Understanding what drives them will soon be vital for every business.

Understanding what drives millennials will soon be vital for every business.

The key lies in CSR

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, millennials are among the most community-minded generation. 70% of millennial employees spent at least an hour per year volunteering in 2014 and 37% devoted up to 10 hours per year (2015 Millennial Impact Report). A strong level of engagement is something you should strive to replicate in the workplace through an innovative and engaging CSR programme. And done right, millennials will talk about it. According to the CEO of Achieve and researcher for The Millennial Impact Derrick Feldmann:

“What motivates millennials is a desire to affect THEIR cause through YOUR organization with their friends.”

Millennials want to achieve more from their daily 9–5 than peer recognition and successful project completion. Don’t get me wrong, holidays and pension schemes are as important as ever, but this generation want to know how many paid hours they can spend helping out at the local RSPCA or mentoring at their local school. These extras are what will entice your millennial recruit through the door and give them an incentive to stay. A study by Price Waterhouse Coopers found, “88% were looking for employers with CSR values that matched their own, and 86% would consider leaving an employer whose values no longer met their expectations.” This might strike some as fickle or flakey, but this is a generation who are expected to change career paths several times or work in a number of different roles and organisations over the course of their lives. Keeping Millennials feeling fulfilled in their work is therefore paramount.

Volunteer initiatives have the power to become an indispensable millennial recruitment and retention tool — a route to connect with your employee base in a meaningful way. Millennials have the potential to reshape the workplace; they need added value and higher purpose in their roles. Get this wrong and they will either head for the door or not step through in the first place.

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