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They’re ready to interject their values into the organizations they are part of, and help the communities they serve move past merely navel-gazing to put those values to work.As a Gen Xer whose generation moved into leadership roles more reluctantly, I’ve been amazed to see how fully engaged Millennials are.
This type of data, collected through a short survey, can offer a starting point for discussion on how to impact culture in a positive way.
Identifying and building a set of core values may seem a bit touchy-feely to traditionally conservative organizations.
Here we see the opportunity for companies to identify and communicate their values-based culture.
This goes beyond the traditional vision and mission statements, and has the potential for employees (of all generations) to see the alignment of their own personal values and the company’s values.
You can find further reading on this in two pieces I previously wrote, “Corporate Values as the Key to Leveraged Business Communications” and “A Match Made in Heaven: Integrating CSR and Training.” Here at Sweet Rush, I spearheaded a project to define our values and culture.
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I started in written form, and then gave our team members an open invitation to share their own expressions of Sweet Rush’s values and culture.Yet when Millennials talk about meaning and purpose, they’re challenging larger organizations to find not only the means to be financially successful, but also to discover how they can contribute to society.What these trends suggest is a mass movement of companies doing what we might call “soul searching.” As that soul searching progresses and companies wrestle with their meaning and purpose, including, but more importantly beyond, shareholder value, I believe we’ll see a desire and appreciation for truly unique expressions of each organization’s values and how those values are practiced authentically in the culture.And while they might seek wisdom or life experience from we older bulls, they perceive no meaningful reason why they can’t directly engage the opportunities and challenges they perceive.The HR industry at large is becoming focused on culture and values, particularly as they recognize the importance of values alignment for Millennials.They’re concerned about the experience of a workplace they spend significant time in.And, importantly, they have a strong desire for transparency and authenticity in how the organization expresses its values.While Boomers might have started this movement on some levels and Gen Xers’ experiments began to build the case for it, Millennials will certainly be the driving force in making values-based cultures the norm in successful organizations. I believe Millennials have a gut-level awareness of their influence and the urge to put their shoulders to the wheel.While many of them are still gaining practical life experience, they’re ready to not only contribute but influence and lead.(I’ve provided some links at the end for further reading.) When surveying the trends and behaviors of this generation, we see that this group is Millennials don’t just hold these values; they are adept at operationalizing them with the choices they make.Children of the information age, they have access to more information than any other generation has ever had, which, I believe—combined with their youthful confidence—emboldens them and reduces room for doubt.