This article by Lauren Reed was originally published in the Nashville Business Journal.
“Well, I was born in 1982, so depending on who you ask, I’m actually Gen X.”
I’ve spent a lot of time denying that I am a millennial.
After all, I didn’t grow up with the Internet or social media. I never received a participation trophy. And once I left for college, I never moved back home. I graduated in a sweet spot before the Great Recession hit and found a job in my desired field within weeks. I even stayed at that first job all throughout my twenties. See, I am not a job-hopper. I am totally not a millennial.
Except that I am. The exact years are up for debate, but most sources agree that Gen Y began in 1982. While there are undeniable differences between a 32-year-old business owner and a senior in high school, there is one core theme among this generation that I can identify with.
We demand social impact. We want to love our work and expect for it to have a deeper meaning than a paycheck every two weeks.
A recently released Deloitte 2015 Millennial Impact survey shows that 77 percent of millennials said part of the reason they chose their employer is because of their company’s sense of purpose. This same survey showed that 75 percent of millennials feel that businesses are focused on their own agenda rather than society.
We require the same from brands that we give our business.
A 2014 study from Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group showed that millennials consider social impact one of the most important roles of business. This study showed that of all of the generations alive today, millennials are the most willing to trade financial return for a greater social impact.
This millennial stuff really is starting to sound like me. My team has had countless discussions about our core purpose as a company. Why do we come to work each day? Yes, we love clever marketing, and we get what some might consider to be unreasonably excited by getting results for our clients, but there must be something more. All of our discussions ended with the same statement — we want to make a lasting impact.
To retain this generation, as both employees and customers, it is critical that you communicate the social impact of your brand. Find a cause that motivates you and weave it into your business. It’s called cause marketing and it’s no longer simply a nice thing to do. It’s expected.
Lauren is the founder of Reed Public Relations. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.