By Shannon Houde
In many ways, millennials are the hope of the 21st Century — and they’ve got a lot to teach us about social innovation. But to get them on board, business has to speak their language
“The youth of today” — it’s a typically derisory comment that anyone under the age of 30 will have undoubtedly heard from older people in their circle. Addicted to social media, valuing job satisfaction over job security, prizing individuality above conformity … “The youth of today” wouldn’t know real work if it jumped out of their tablet screen. But there’s another way of looking at the millennial generation, and business leaders run the risk of losing out by not paying attention to them.
A fascinating report from my previous-employer, Deloitte, surveyed 7,800 members of the millennial generation across 26 countries, and the results were summed up as ‘big demands and high expectations.’ Millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, and the findings show that they want to work for organizations that make a positive contribution to society by addressing global challenges of resource scarcity, climate change and income equality. They also want to work for companies that support innovation, and identified the biggest barriers to innovation as management attitude, operational structures and procedures, and employee skills, attitudes and diversity. What’s more, the report states that they are “ready to work independently if their needs are not being met by a traditional organization,” implying an entrepreneurial spirit and attraction to alternative working structures.
This means big things for the impact and sustainability sectors. A young global generation — connected culturally and spatially through technology, motivated by social good and seeking careers that facilitate innovation — is exactly the kind of leadership business must harness if it is to adapt to the triple bottom line of economic, social and natural capital in coming decades.Click to continue reading »