Fast Company cited a recent Deloitte survey of Millenials (persons born after 1982) in the workforce that concluded these young people looked for companies “with a strong sense of purpose beyond a simple profit motive.” In addition, they also believe companies should “spend less time on short-time roles and more time on broadly building contributions to society, more time focusing on their people," says Deloitte Global Chairman Steve Almond.
For the record, I am NOT a millennial! As a matter of fact, I am the father of two millennials, yet I feel the same way about organizations that I want to be associated. I don’t think I am unique, nor do I think my peers in Generation X (born between 1964 and 1982) are totally obsessed with retirement plans and profit-sharing agreements. Don’t get me wrong, we X’ers are hitting 50, so we are thinking more about how we will spend the second half. But I don’t believe the Millenials are the only ones concerned about corporate altruism and societal veracity.
What then are the key characteristics of organizations that can survive the workforce transitioning from the Gen X’ers to the Millenials? Here are three ideas based on a quarter century of observations.
1. The organization has a mission that is bigger than the product, leader and even the org itself.
The most successful churches that I work with are thriving because they are totally sold out to their mission of reaching people that don’t know Jesus. Their core values are focused on creating a culture geared toward achieving their mission. Everyone in the church, staff and members, know what these values are and how they are applied to reach their objectives.
2. The leader is really a strategic-thinking, innovative leader and not just the top technical guy.
Steve Jobs has been hailed as that leader for the turn of the 21st century. He was technically savvy but what made Apple the leading brand in the world in the first decade of the 2000’s was his maniacal commitment to pushing his people to the innovative brink creating a new paradigm for design, communication and connectivity.
3. The organization is incented at all levels to develop their people.
I grew up in an era where companies incented managers and employees to achieve specific financial targets. So, managers invested their time in activities solely geared to hitting their quarterly objectives. The good managers understood that investing in developing their teams was the key to consistently exceeding their goals. A growing trend we are seeing globally is the proliferation of network marketing organizations as people in all age groups are looking for a second source of income. Participants in these organizations are directly incented to develop their teammates, usually for the benefit of the entire team.
What are the key characteristics you look for in organizations where you plan to work?