You do you. Y'know.
Part of me wanted to call this blog “everyone tells me I’m lazy and narcissistic but I’m not” – but I didn’t want to come across as a whiney and defensive millennial. The truth is yes I’m a young person. I’m 23, I work in marketing. I have an opinion on most things, I have a self-assured confidence to me by nature. I like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m ambitious and probably a little bit altruistic. I have a social conscience and I am serenely opportunistic in coming up with new ideas. Does this make me a good, bad or an annoying person? No, these things just make me a person, but one that nonetheless falls into the category of being a millennial.
Now I know that we have all heard some grand reflections on millennials, some of which I’ve referenced earlier. We’ve heard that we are lazy, narcissistic, egotistical, entitled…the list goes on. But when we really start to drill down, the types of things millennials are looking for from work, don’t just apply to the mindset of young people – they’re bigger changes to the culture of work, being driven from the young ‘uns up. Things like a clear sense of purpose, being led and not managed and having a clear path for progression outlined and nurtured by leadership, sound like nice things for everyone right? But let’s look a little more about what these things have to do with ownership and progress, after all that’s why we’re here.
In order to frame this properly - when I talk about millennials, I’m talking about those born between early 80’s – early 00’s, who grew up with the internet, John Howard as our PM and will remember Janet Jackson, NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys as the billboard chart toppers. Other definitions may vary but I’m doing the talking here.
So we know who they are, and we know what they want out of work, but onto the ownership and progress bit.
You see, particularly around this “purpose” point – there’s more than meets the eye to just a personal sense of fulfilment or satisfaction. Young people are actually looking for businesses that know their authentic reason for existence and communicate it well. A business that has values which we not only understand but can align ourselves with.
There’s a quote from the Deloitte survey that says, and I paraphrase “millennials believe that business exists to make a positive impact on society, not just make money”. Yes, of course we know that business needs to make money, but we want to know how your business is positively changing people’s worlds.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure that at the heart of every business there would be some kind of human-centric statement, the telco’s of the world would be working to “connect people and help build relationships” the car manufacturers would be “making life easier for people”, you catch my drift? People have to be the reason your business exists, after all they are the ones spending the money. If there’s a level of engagement with your purpose, there’ll be a deeper level of engagement for their work and investment in that purpose and a clear ability to take ownership of that purpose in the everyday of roles.
Businesses need to be focusing just as much on communicating values and purpose, as on marketing products – because values and purpose are influencing decisions just as much as product or price.
Richard Branson actually prefaced this years ago in his book “Screw Business as Usual”, years before CSR was a buzzword. The day-to-day ways that your business interacts with society are being watched, and I love that Richard Branson was talking about this before it was cool. Because now, we’re seeing the importance of it. Not just in itself as an action, but how we are talking about it and marketing that day-to-day impact.
Because really at the crux of it all, millennials view their jobs not just as activities to pay the bills. We actually want to invest our time into workplaces where we can take ownership of the mission, and playing our part in seeing it come to fruition. And that’s where we’re all going to see real progress made, when our workplaces enable this to happen, and not just for the millennials sake either. Know your purpose, your authentic reason for existing and the genuine way you impact people’s worlds and communicate that in a way that let’s your people, but in particular your young people, know their part in contributing to that purpose.
I’m so looking forward to giving even more insight on millennials at the Future of Leadership conference in Sydney on July 15th and would love to see you there! Get your tickets at www.futureofleadership.com.au and if you enter the code TEAMSKI at the end of your order, you may even get a sneaky little discount. But all jokes aside, this is a day worth every cent, and for a cause that’s very close to the heart of a lot of people, including my own so don’t be the schmuck that’s sitting there watching the twitter feed wishing they were there.