When it comes to the all-important question of how to inspire millennials, organizations should put a spotlight on sustainability efforts.
Experts on sustainability often speak of the triple bottom line or "the 3 P's" that all businesses should focus on: people, planet and profit. The idea is that by taking care of their community and planet, businesses can also drive profitability. When it comes to the all-important question of how to inspire millennials, organizations that focus on sustainability put themselves in a better position to attract and retain millennial employees.
In their book "The Sustainability Edge: How to Drive Top-Line Growth With Triple-Bottom-Line Thinking," Suhas Apte and Jagdish Sheth describe how best-in-class companies embrace social, environmental and financial considerations in order to reach long-term business goals of growth, cost reduction and employee engagement.
Here are a few ideas for integrating and promoting sustainability into your business in ways that will help you inspire and engage millennials — along with all your employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Make Your Business Operations Sustainable
Make it clear to employees that you welcome — and will implement — good ideas that also foster sustainability. For example, installing motion sensors in your workplace that turn off the lights when nobody is in the room will help save energy and save money. Establish a program that rewards and recognizes employees who come up with ideas that reduce waste and save resources. That's certainly a win for people, planet and profits.
Start Spreading the News
You'll want to develop a reputation for caring about more than cold, hard cash. Nothing does that like walking the walk and talking the talk. Post news and photos about your sustainability efforts on your company website and social media channels and ask participating employees to do the same. Contact your local newspaper and TV station, letting them know what you're doing on the sustainability front. These outlets are looking for just this kind of good news to share. The goal here is to inform members of the community, including potential employees, that you're doing good work.
Offer a Sense of Mission and Meaning
Millennials want to make a difference in the world, seeking to contribute more than just profits. When you're able to articulate your company's mission and meaning — how it makes the world a better place in the long run — millennials will notice. When your workforce can see how your company's mission creates a positive, meaningful impact in the world, they'll feel more motivated to support it. This is how to inspire millennials.
Promote Volunteering Inclusively
Talk to your employees in an open-ended, exploratory way about the local causes and nonprofit groups that mean the most to them. Then coordinate with your employees to volunteer as a group with the chosen cause or nonprofit once a quarter or twice a year. You could also offer them personalized volunteer time off days, so they can volunteer with a charity that is personally important to them. Just having this dialogue will show many millennial employees that you're committed to sustainability.
When you show your employees and customers that you care about sustainability, they're likely to reciprocate by giving you their loyalty. While caring about people and planet might seem like something that lies outside your core business, it may actually be the quickest way to build a community of employees and customers who care about sustaining you as a business. How will you show you care about the triple bottom line?
SIGN UP FOR THE THRIVE NEWSLETTER