As the demographics of the American workforce continue to change, we can expect to see a number of cultural shifts in the workplace. Corporate cultures have already begun to be influenced by the influx of young, pragmatic, millennials, but as we approach 2025, the year in which Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce, we should expect, and be prepared for a widespread change in corporate culture.
Looking Towards Societal Impact
Millennials are quickly becoming the largest demographic in the workforce and their values will further shape the future of the American economy. Some key millennial values to be aware of are a desire to do work that addresses societal concerns, a focus on and respect for the environment, and a strong commitment to ethical causes and corporate responsibility.
Research suggests that millennials are in general more concerned with advancing the welfare of the group and less concerned with individual success than Gen Xers or baby boomers. The baby boomer generation has long been defined by strong ideological divides, and intense polarization, which contrasts with the more pragmatic approach to getting things done that millennials bring to the table. This has had an impact on the way in which millennials operate in the workforce, and the impact will only grow as millennials come to occupy more CEO and corporate leadership roles.
In addition to changing corporate cultures from within, it’s also important to take note of the ways in which millennials have changed, and will continue changing, the corporate landscape through their role as consumers. A 2013 survey found that millennials are far more concerned with corporate responsibility, and have a desire to buy from companies that are socially responsible, and support specific social issues. Corporations hoping to win the support of millennial consumers should take time to consider the ways in which they are active in their communities, and how committed they are to positive societal change.
Not only do millennials believe it’s important to spend their money in a responsible way, and at companies whose values align with theirs, they have also shifted society’s views on consumerism as a whole. As millennials continue to become a larger portion of the economy, trends have shifted away from a glorification of consumerism, to a more reasoned approach. Millennials do not believe money is the key measure of success, nor do they believe that things are the key to happiness.
One thing businesses definitely need to be aware of is the way in which, as soon as millennials reached adulthood, they drastically changed the landscape around what it is that consumers are looking for from companies. For example, millennials tend to seek out companies that they feel show empathy and kindness, and within 4 years of millennials reaching adulthood, these traits had seen a 400 percent spike in the level to which people valued them in a corporation. Empathy and kindness have quickly become huge factors in the success of a company, if millennials view a company as empathetic, kind, and caring, they are more likely to shop there, spend time there, and when they’re on the market, want to work there.
Adjusting Your Business Approach
As millennials continue to expand their influence in the marketplace, businesses should reflect on the ways in which they are portraying and acting on the values that matter most to a growing number of consumers, citizens, and potential employees. If you’re looking for a vibrant, and positive office culture, consider the ways in which you demonstrate kindness, empathy, and social responsibility. Understanding your buyers across all generations will help you understand how to best serve them.
Companies that show their employees empathy and take an interest in the causes that they care about will see a growing level of trust and contentment from their employees. Millennials have taken the focus off of money, exclusivity, and consumerism, and placed the focus on the community, responsibility, and kindness, all traits with which corporations should take note of.
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