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Mei Cobb

By Mei Cobb

Passion for a Cause: Millennials Want to Work and Volunteer Together

07/07/14


Passion for a Cause: Millennials Want to Work and Volunteer Together Image

Employers take note. One-third of millennials surveyed said that their companies’ volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job, 39 percent said that it influenced their decision to interview, and 55 percent said that such policies played into their decision to accept an offer. The 2014 Millennial Impact Report, sponsored by the Case Foundation and prepared by Achieve, also found that clearly-defined company policies on giving and volunteering help employers attract and retain young talent. 

Civic engagement is on the rise in corporate America. More businesses are giving employees the opportunity to volunteer with community organizations and finding that in addition to attracting employees, it simultaneously increases their bottom line and employee satisfaction. The report cites the kinds of volunteering employees born after 1980 want to see more of at work: company-wide volunteer days, sabbaticals from paid work for volunteer work, and performing charitable projects with a department or team. Researchers also found that millennial employees respond best when they are given an array of different ways to engage in a cause, and regard donating their skills and time to a cause as equivalent to writing a check.

Millennials will make up 50 percent of the work force by 2020.  As noted in the report, “for a company desiring to build a culture that resonates with this growing demographic of current and future employees, leveraging their passions is crucial.” So, how to do this? United Way can help.  We offer expertise in both employee volunteer programs and in working with millennials and could help companies channel their employees’ passions for good. 

United Way leads annual volunteer days, offers volunteer opportunities throughout the year and can consult on starting or growing a corporate volunteer program. About 120 United Ways have Young Leaders Societies, which are United Way networking groups that advance members both professionally and civically, providing networking opportunities with community business leaders and volunteers committed to improving communities. Student United Ways exist on nearly eighty college campuses around the world and have recently expanded to include some high school clubs.

The report’s recommendations are spot on: companies should create opportunities to engage millennials’ professional and personal interests and should develop a triple platform of involvement – company-wide, department-based and interest-driven – through the workplace.  What else can companies do to do well, do good, and do right by their millennial employees?  We’d love to hear “what works” for you and your employer.

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