Mike Edmonds (pictured below) is founder of the Perth-based creative solutions agency Meerkats and author of the book Truth.Growth.Repeat. In this guest post, he offers a surprisingly simple guide to recruiting top-flight Millennials…
Who will lead humankind into a bright, productive future? Because young people aren’t exactly shooting their hands into the air in an effort to volunteer. In fact, they’re worried about the whole concept of capitalism. Mostly because they fear they will have to leave their integrity at the door before they can enter the free market economy.
Which is great news for anyone running a purpose-driven business. Stay true to your authentic motive for being in business, build a great culture around that truth and you will have the pick of the employment litter.
Young people want to be more, not have more
The traditional lures of employment don’t work so well with Millennials. Big salaries, perks, bonuses, stock options. Young people are telling us loud and clear that if they can be inspired by their work, paying bills is enough for them.
Recently US strategy firm Department26 did a survey of 1,000 Millennials and found that their number one goal in life is not to build up capital. They see no point in cultivating a nest egg if their values need to be compromised to make it grow. They want to be inspired; to do things that make a difference; to do things they feel passionately about. And yes, they genuinely put those things above salary level.
So it’s a win-win for anyone running a business that’s openly pursuing authentic value. You will arouse the interest of the best young minds and won’t have to engage in a bidding war to nab them. But you’ve got to be sincere.
Millennials want to know what you mean
In order to align their passions to those of their employer, young people will want to know what you stand for. What is your authentic motive for being in business and how are you proving to the world that you are sincere about it?
They will want proof of your authenticity because they are intensely wary of corporate pretence. They’ve been bitten as consumers and don’t want to spend their working lives faking it in a company that separates corporate behaviour and brand image.
For example, they will want to see a transparent workplace, where hard work is merited, feedback is fast and fair, and under-performers don’t get to hide behind office walls or job titles. Cultural aspects that are far easier to establish in purpose-driven companies.
Take a leaf out of Patagonia’s bible
Outdoor clothing company Patagonia is a global phenomenon because their business strategy is perfectly aligned to their true purpose. They genuinely believe that the future of their income is linked to the future of their planet.
As such, they spend big on R&D to create products that are not only rugged and attractive, but are recyclable and sustainable. They recently launched a new wetsuit made entirely from organic materials, replacing a product that every other wetsuit brand has been making for decades from non-recyclable synthetic rubber. It’s selling through the roof.
Here’s the bottom line (literally): who do you think all those smart young designers and engineers and chemists coming out of CalTech and MIT are going to want to work for? An outdoor brand that says “Come and work for us and make the same things over and over until a competitor changes the game and we follow.”
Or a genuinely inspiring company like Patagonia, who say “Come and work for us and we will liberate the commercial and societal value of your authentic passion.”