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Engage your Millennials by actively supporting volunteerism

In my book Generations Exposed: Unexpected Insights Into the People You Work With, I’ve highlighted how civic duty, the environment, and making a tangible difference (beyond monetary profit) in the world is important to Millennials.  So it’s not surprising that charitable, social and environmental organizations are quite interested in learning more about what it takes to attract and involve this generation in their causes.  Enter The Millennial Impact Project.  This ongoing study, primarily through annual surveys, seeks to determine and track the best approaches for cause organizations to attract and engage Millennials.  Their 2014 report, released just last month, offers interesting insights into what draws and keeps Millennial engaged, both in and outside the workplace.  If you’re the leader of a team that has Millennial members, here are some items worthy of note:

  • When deciding whether to apply for a job in a specific company, whether or not the company is involved with causes (charitable, social, environmental) is the third most important factor Millennials consider.  (What the company does, sells or produces is #1 and the company’s work culture is #2).
  • 78% of Millennials prefer volunteering to support a cause with a group of co-workers rather than on their own.
  • The three cause-related programs Millennials want to see more of are company-wide volunteer days, sabbaticals (a break from work for volunteering), and performing charitable projects with a department or team.

So are there insights here to help you better motivate and lead the Millennials on your team?  Yes!  Here’s one idea – plan and implement a team volunteer project.  And this is motivating for more than just your younger team members.  Done well, I’m willing to bet that employees of all ages will come on board, more engaged and more productive!  Ask your team for ideas, and even better, let one of your Millennials organize it.  For specifics on how to get a cause project within your department or team going, see my blog post Employee volunteer programs increase employee engagement which references an article – If They Give, You will Get Back: the case for employee volunteer programs – that I wrote for the November/December 2013 issue of CGA Magazine.

So what are your thoughts?  Is this data relevant to and indicative of your leadership reality?  What are you (or could you be) doing differently to engage and motivate the Millennials on your team?  Let’s get a discussion going in the Comments section.

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