Millennials are caring about work and working to care

Sustainable Business Council executive director Abbie Reynolds says businesses could take inspiration from social ...
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Sustainable Business Council executive director Abbie Reynolds says businesses could take inspiration from social enterprises for their CSR initiatives.

Millennials care about how altruistic their employers are. But an annual donation to a favourite charity won't cut it.

They want their company to be active in their corporate social responsibility (CSR), new research shows.

The study found most graduates considered and organisation's CSR commitments when deciding where to work.

Sustainable Business Council executive director Abbie Reynolds said businesses could take inspiration from social enterprises.

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"Social enterprises could transform the way we do business. Around the world, they are growing in number, success, customers and in new markets," Reynolds said.

"Business can be a real force for good in the world, and social enterprises embody that, using business ideas in service to improving social or environmental outcomes."

A Deloitte Millennial survey conducted last year, which had 7700 responses from 29 countries, found almost all of those surveyed believed the success of a business should be measured in more terms than just financial performance.

More than half said they ruled out working for organisations based on company values.

The challenge for any company implementing a CSR programme is to create one that simultaneously appeals to employee's passions, aligns with business goals, addresses critical community issues and delivers measurable social impacts Reynolds said.

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She said there had been a growing sophistication in how businesses took initiatives to make a positive impact.

From yearly donations to a charity, businesses had moved to implementing programmes that upskilled workers, trained graduates and set goals to reduce their carbon footprint, Reynolds said.

Brigitte Hicks spokeswoman for network for millennial professionals, Now Crowd, said CSR programmes should be integrative within an organisation, offering employees at all levels of the organisation to have the opportunity to do good. 

"It shouldn't be left to a CSR team. Millennials want to be part of the solution and businesses need to engage with them in their CSR activities to keep and attract them," Hicks said. 

Reynolds said social enterprise Akina Foundation general manager Louise Aitken said with the rise of social enterprises, corporates had started to realise that skills-based contributions were even more valuable.

Offering skills-based volunteering allowed companies to support a broader set of programmes as employees could use their wide range of expertise to both do good and demonstrate their skills and efficiencies it brings to the market every day, she said 

Aitken said the traditional model of selecting a single company wide charity did not appeal to employees.

"That one-size-fits-all approach limits engagement. People like to choose."

Using employees' skills also allowed firms to use online tools to help nonprofits through virtual volunteering opportunities, she said.

A study last year found that over two years employees' participation rates in volunteer programmes rose by 5 per cent to 33 per cent in 2015, especially when employees were offered skills-based volunteer programs.

 - Stuff

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