One thing millennials want in a job: Strong CSR programs

Millennials don't just want to contribute to society on their own time, they also want it to be a part of their work experience, according to new research from Cone Communications.

BOSTON: Millennials aren’t the lazy, narcissistic generation they’re often branded as, at least when it comes to their enthusiasm for CSR.

A vast majority of millennials want to work for companies that have strong CSR programs, more so than other generations, according to a study from Cone Communications released on Wednesday morning. 

Nearly nine in 10 (88%) of millennials surveyed said their job is more fulfilling when they have opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues, compared with the U.S. average of 70%.

"There have been a lot of world influences that have affected this generation," said Alison DaSilva, EVP of research and insights at Cone Communications. "They have grown up with community service integrated in their experience in school at a very early age. With climate change taking center stage, they have a much broader global awareness of issues at a younger age."

This means companies will have to change to keep the generation engaged. Much like millennials have influenced organizations’ attitudes towards workplace flexibility, companies that want to attract the 18-to-35-year-old generation will need to enhance their CSR initiatives.

Millennials expect not only company-wide service days, but also tips on how to live consciously in their personal lives and sabbaticals for long-term volunteering, DaSilva said. When deciding where they want to work, three-quarters of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments, and 64% won’t take a job from a prospective employer without a strong CSR program.

"Millennials are not very loyal, so looking at this group as being transient is going to have massive business implications for companies," DaSilva said. "It becomes: how do you keep them? How do you keep them inspired? And how do you keep them excited about the job?"

Millennials can also help a company build its brand through social media. Four of five want to share their volunteerism and their company’s CSR work on social media, according to the research.

"It presents a great opportunity for companies to look at employees and CSR efforts as external branding, as well," DaSilva said. "Millennials will share what they’re doing and how they're engaging. It’s the most authentic and credible branding any company can ask for."

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