How to use CSR to attract talented Millennials

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How to use CSR to attract talented Millennials

In the early years of corporate CSR and CSI, executives and financial managers often regarded CSR and CSI as wasteful distractions from profit maximisation. In contrast, the younger generation has increasingly viewed CSR and CSI as natural extensions of a company’s strategic operations. In many companies, this has driven a CSR and CSI generation gap between the older (and commonly more senior) executives, and the younger upwardly mobile managers.

However, in dynamic forward-thinking companies, this generational gap can be used to drive effective CSR and CSI programs, provided that each generation understands that the other has a valid view as shaped by their own experiences. Studies show that the Baby Boomers and Generation X, born between 1946 and 1980, tend to separate their work from their personal lives. A job is merely a means to financial security, and a company exists to reward their shareholders financially. Millennials, on the other hand, typically blend their lives, interests, and their jobs. They are aware that work is where they spend most of their time and therefore it should be fulfilling, have a meaningful purpose, and have a positive impact on society.

A 2017 report by Millennial Impact finds that the average millennial is most interested in causes that promote equity, equality, and opportunity, as well as focusing their attention on issues that extend beyond themselves or their groups.  The same reason millennials want their jobs to make a meaningful impact in the communities around them, is the same reason they want to buy products with ingredients that are ethically sourced and produced. They are not only concerned employees, entrepreneurs, and executives; they are also concerned consumers – making them a socially responsible generation.

According to older generations, millennials are often labelled as lazy, entitled, and selfish, while millennials retort that the greed and narrow-mindedness of the older generations has led to climate catastrophe and worsening inequality. So how do employers accommodate what will soon be the largest workforce?

With the amount of emphasis millennials place on social justice, it comes as no surprise that genuine and impactful CSR and CSI strategies can attract and retain this socially conscious group. A 2016 Cone Communications study reveals that 76% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before deciding where to work. Furthermore, 64% of millennials will not take a job if a potential employer does not have strong corporate responsibility practices. However, surveys also report that millennials do not merely want to know what their companies are doing to be more responsible; they also want to be the facilitators driving CSR and CSI solutions and innovations.

In the next few years, as this new generation become activist consumers and employees, companies that still view CSR and CSI as an after-thought, or merely as begrudging charity, will suffer from declining brand equity, customers, and shareholder value, as well as an inability to attract the talented employees who could turn the company’s misfortune around. In contrast, companies that have adopted innovative and impactful CSR and CSI programs will reap the rewards of heightened brand awareness, customer loyalty, and attract the talented employees that will shape future innovations and financial results.

About the Author:
Yolanda Gossel is the Founder and Programme Director at Five Tulips, a South African based sustainability and corporate social investment (CSI) consultancy. Five Tulips forges partnerships between communities, public and private sectors and individuals for social upliftment and preservation of our planets resources and ecosystems.
To connect with me visit: 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yolandagossel005/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fivetulips

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