Do companies have an obligation to be socially responsible? 78% of millennials think so, according to this study by Cone Communications. This socially conscious generation isn’t going to leave saving the world to big charities. They’re going to do it themselves—and they expect you to join them.
Millennials On A Mission
This expectation isn’t some empty wish. Whether a company lives up to it or not is a big factor in where these respondents choose to work.
79% want to work for a company that cares about its impact on society
Nearly two-thirds say their company’s contributions to society make them loyal
Companies worry about how to retain employees, especially those from this generation. These responses send a clear message about what the answer is, for a sizeable majority. There’s passion behind these answers, and a company that knows how to leverage it will be rewarded with passionate employees.
Putting Your (Donation) Money Where Your Mouth Is
Companies have some work to do before they can tap in to this dedicated workforce. Though there are plenty of companies who say they care about social causes—and back it up by donating money, volunteer time, and more—according to the Cone study, 70% of millennials think they aren’t doing enough.
They can’t really be blamed for their opinion. For instance, when it comes to charitable donations, corporations aren’t giving as much as they used to. Since 1986, the percent of profits being donated has dropped from 2.1% to 0.8%. And sure, the total dollar amount of donations has gone up—but ultimately corporations are dishing out a smaller and smaller piece of their overall pie. This isn’t living the mission the way that Gen Y wants.
According to the Cone study, this generation wants to know what the impact of their actions is. They want proof, and they want it quickly. A company who wants to really capture a member of this idealistic group needs to make sure that its social mission is embedded in its culture. The employees need to know what the company values are and how they’re met.
Tapping Into The Energy
The rewards of engaging millennials can be huge, and not just during the employee’s workday. There’s a particular group, which the Cone study calls the “Doers,” that is particularly active in social activism. These Doers are particularly invested in their causes, to the point where 68% would refuse to work for a socially irresponsible employer.
On the other hand, if you win them over? Not only will they work for you, but they are also more likely to go out of their way to support your brand. And since these Doers are estimated to number 15.6 million in the U.S., they’re a powerful force to have on your side.
There’s no doubt that this generation has high expectations. But companies that take social responsibility seriously can win their loyalty and support, as both employees and consumers.