5 Keys to Attracting Millennial Talent through Authentic Corporate Citizenship

Attracting Millennial Talent - CSR

Within the next three years, Millennials will make up about 50% of the workforce. It’s a fact! But will they be choosing to be a part of your company’s workforce? The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes data on the ratio of unemployed persons per job opening and, thanks to a strengthening economy, this number dropped to historic low of 1.2 in August. Therefore, attracting Millennial talent to fill open positions is one of the biggest challenges facing companies throughout the U.S. right now.

What can you do to ensure your company can continue to grow and flourish? Promote a culture of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in your organization. Consider these statistics about Millennials:

  • 75 percent say they would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company.
  • 83 percent would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to improving social and environmental issues.
  • 88 percent say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues.
  • 76 percent consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.
  • 64 percent won’t take a job from a company that doesn’t have strong CSR practices.

Here are five strategies you can use to market your CSR to help attract Millennial talent:

1. Attach your company’s work to ideals

Employees need to have a clear understanding of how the work they’re doing fits in with and supports the organization’s values and purpose. They need to see that they’re helping the organization improve society in some way. Many individuals experience their work as meaningful when it matters to others more than to themselves. Regardless of the industry you’re in or the type of product you create, be sure to align your organization to your purpose and core values. Here are a couple of great examples:

  • ExxonMobil — “Energy Lives Here™” campaign: Yes, they are the company that had a major disaster that will forever be a part of their story. They have made a very visible commitment to becoming an industry leader on taking action. Their website messaging and advertising campaigns are focused on demonstrating how the “people of ExxonMobil are working to power the world responsibly.”
  • Verizon — “When they are needed most, first responders answer the call. Our mission is to make sure they get the call.” This very powerful ad campaign is quite timely after multiple recent natural and human-made disasters. The power behind the campaign is a clear message that Verizon is part of the solution.

While neither of these companies necessarily comes to mind when you think of corporate social responsibility, both have done an excellent job of tying their work to ideals that matter. That’s a clear draw for prospective Millennial employees.

2. Avoid tokenistic corporate responsibility

Commit to bold social goals and integrate social change in all aspects of your operation. CSR is more about how your organization conducts itself in relation to employees, consumers, and the broader society in which you operate, than just charitable donations made on behalf of the company. Knowing that the company gives money to charitable organizations is less important than knowing you have a fulfilling job with a company that has meaningful impacts on social or environment issues.

3. Share details of your CSR commitment

Millennials no longer have to wait until they walk into your company corridors for a job interview to learn about your culture. In this digital era, your potential applicants have already reviewed your website, read your company blogs, and pored through all your social channels to uncover who you really are as an organization. Use your digital presence to share your CSR programs. Post pictures of your team’s engagement in CSR activities and include outcomes of your company’s impact. Use your social channels to attract attention to the opportunities your company offers to be a part of a greater good. Use your company’s internal communications platforms (think newsletter or email profiles) to share some of the great examples of how the work your employees do makes a difference. By sharing these stories, you remind employees of the important purpose of their daily work.

4. Be a good neighbor

While global CSR programs definitely have potential to attract Millennial attention, don’t discount your own backyard! Millennials are just as interested, if not more so, in being great contributors to their local community. Consider having your company adopt a school, senior center, community center or recycling center within your community, and pledge dollars, time and resources on an ongoing basis. Offering opportunities for employees to partner with local organizations on a regular and recurring basis can make a big difference in your community. Employees find meaning in their jobs when they are in contact with people who benefit directly from their work, so create time and opportunities for your employees to share feedback from these people.

5. Involve employees in shaping the program

Millennials don’t just want to work for a company that does good, they want to be collaborators and facilitators of CSR. They want to play an active role in helping to shape the CSR program. Give them opportunities to provide ideas, help find new ways to improve the efforts and, most importantly, involve them every step of the way! CSR must be active and present in every level of your organization; this doesn’t just belong to the CSR officer (if you have one) but rather to every employee in your company.

Keep in mind, Millennials are the first generation to truly blend their personal and working lives, so it’s more important to them than other generations to view their job as a way to make a positive impact on society. Making sure you offer a strong CSR program will help make your company an attractive opportunity for top talent moving forward.

Debbie Wooldridge

Debbie Wooldridge is the founding president and CEO of DW Training and Development, Inc., dba ttcInnovations, which provides businesses with engaging learning solutions that adopt a host of performance support options. Debbie’s company has also created The Millennial Project. Debbie currently lives in Carlsbad, California, with her husband and is a mother to twin Millennials.