I recently had the opportunity to go on a family mission trip. These types of trips are actually difficult to find. That’s because many trips won’t allow children or they’re cost prohibitive, running into the thousands of dollars, including the cost of travel.
My recent mission trip sparked a thought in my brain about the role of community work and community service in the marketplace. And of course, the generation that is currently dominating the market in terms of sheer numbers is the Millennial Generation.
I have attended many a training session devoted to “managing multiple generations in the workplace” or similar topics. Recently, though, I discovered a great article in Entrepreneur magazine that offers four principles for motivating Millennials. It should come as no surprise that this generation has a heart for service, and allowing them the opportunity to give back is their primary motivator. The four principles in the article are as follows:
- Think differently, because they do.
- Give them purpose, not an assignment.
- Public outreach can equal employee outreach.
- Growth potential, not promises.
Below is the information that the article provided for #3 on the list:
“For a real-world example of this philosophy in action, take a look at how this law firm is quietly empowering their employees to help raise funds for St. Jude. This is a perfect example of giving purpose to millennials. It has absolutely nothing to do with the law firm, but it sends a message that they care about the world. So far they’ve raised more than $91,000 for charity.
“In the past, companies have always donated to charity in order to promote themselves to the public. It works. If you don’t believe me, check out this list of 53 popular companies that donate to nonprofits. With the millennial generation entering the workforce, the benefits of donating to nonprofits has multiplied. It is something your team gets to be a part of—giving them a sense of purpose that expands beyond the balance sheet; something they can tell their friends and family about. While you may not win an employee for life, you will give them some purpose outside of the typical day-to-day work, which ideally translates to less employee turnover.”
Since I own my own business, my situation is different. However, I’ve been thinking about this issue. When company employees have to use their paid time off (PTO) for mission work or other community service work, does that truly recharge their batteries? What if companies offered additional time off for these opportunities to serve? For example, employers could offer five paid days per year for employees to engage in community search or other charitable acts.
While this is something that might have been considered unthinkable 10 or 15 years ago, the dynamics of the marketplace have changed dramatically. The bottom line is simple. The Millennial Generation comprises over one-third of the workforce today. As a result, making sure that Millennials are happy is critical for companies to retain their top talent.
One way to make them happy is to feed and cultivate their desire to serve others in whatever capacity they see fit. And if they see that you have a vested interest in helping them serve, then they are more likely to view your organization in a positive light, and consequently, feel more loyalty to it.