Good business = better business according to the millennial crowd

At this year’s PRWeek conference, “Good Business, Better Business” in New York, panels and speakers focused on corporate social responsibility, how it affects the consumer public, but most interestingly, how it affects corporate culture.

PR Week Conference Recap

In two of the panel discussions, presenters discussed millennial response to CSR in the workplace, and the impact CSR programs have on both employee satisfaction and retention.  What do my peers think of CSR? I know how I feel about it, but I’d love to know what other millennials think.

During the “Battle of the Big Ideas” presentation, most impressive was the Public Relations Society of America’s PRSSA’s National President Heather Harder’s re-mastered version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and how its theory on self-actualization applies directly to millennials in the workplace. Given that she’s a millennial on the hunt for a job, she should know.

According to Harder, self-actualization is described by Maslow as the desire to accomplish everything that one can and the realization of one’s full potential as a member of society. Harder argued that as millennials grow into professionals, self-actualization transfers from their once juvenile aspirations to something much larger than themselves. Thus, for millennials corporate social responsibility has become a necessity in their quest for self-actualization, and they seek out positions that will allow them to excel professionally while making an impact on the greater good. The more devoted companies are to creating a corporate culture with a strong “do good” message, the more likely these companies are to retain and attract the influential group of the population.

Following the “Battle of the Big Ideas” discussion, MSLGROUP sponsored a panel discussion focused on millennial behavior in the workplace with executives leading corporate social responsibility programs at Sprint, Time Warner Cable, and Viacom.

Perhaps the most impressive, and frankly refreshing, topic discussed during by the panel was impact vs. ego. So commonly millennials, as a group, are qualified as self-absorbed and focused on individual well-being; however, studies conducted by MSLGROUP show that millennials are actually more inclined to set personal interests aside to support companies and brands they feel can make a difference in the long run. For example, millennials value businesses that put efforts toward pragmatic issues such as protecting the environment, sustainability and environmental pollution instead of placing efforts on healthcare, unemployment and inflation.

These two panels together show that millennials use business practices as a means to make their futures, and everyone else’s, the best it can possibly be. Corporate social responsibility, with millennials soon at the helm of the world’s most influential corporations, is here to stay.

This blog post was contributed by Sara Pendleton, Assistant Account Director, 451 Marketing