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Make your company irresistible to Millennials

If your company helps create local, broadly shared prosperity, a healthy community and a cleaner environment, it’ll attract Millennial employees to your business.

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Many Millennials complain it’s hard to find good jobs. Many employers moan that it’s hard to attract Millennials—and harder again to keep them for long. If you’re an entrepreneur whose company is one that they’ll find attractive, know it and use it. And know how to manage your Millennials!

First things first: Millennials are like everyone else. They insist on good working conditions, fair pay and benefits, a pleasant workplace and room for professional growth. Without these, you’ll have trouble attracting anyone.

The Holy Grail many Millennials seek is a company purpose that’s broader than profits. By “purpose,” they mean benefit for society, in addition to money. Think local, inclusive prosperity. Think community. Think environment.

Social purpose is not a fad

This is no fad, like their rumoured preference for beanbag chairs, ping-pong tables and free espresso. Sociologists say it’s because we human beings are meaning-seeking creatures. By this, they mean that we humans appear hard-wired to need our lives to be part of a purpose that’s bigger than ourselves and that benefits others—family, friends or the world. We find or create purpose in all sorts of ways, from practicing religion to raising families or doing community work. In its absence, we feel unsettled.

This is why many Millennials seek the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making a contribution they judge meaningful, and why the paycheque ain’t enough. What’s new is that so many of them look for it in the workplace.

If your company helps create local, broadly shared prosperity, a healthy community and a cleaner environment, it’ll attract Millennials.

Here are five tips to attract and retain Millennial employees to your business.

1. Get the basics right

Start by treating your employees well. Yes, many of them want to improve the world, but all of them expect work conditions that include attractive pay and benefits, an inviting work culture and room to learn and advance. Get these basics right first.

2. Set realistic expectations

Bring them down to Earth (if need be). Their professors told them companies can eliminate world poverty. They might not know this is very rare. Help them understand that if, for example, your company employs twelve people, then that’s twelve livelihoods that enable twelve people to live lives of proud self-sufficiency and that help make your town or city a better place to live in. In this age of inequality, understanding this will make Millennials proud—and more loyal to you.

3. Think purpose, not charity

Help them jettison old-fashioned thinking. The sharp Millennials don’t confuse company charity with company purpose. (Reliance on charity is passé, purpose is where it’s at.) They’re more impressed by and proud when the business model and daily activities create a benefit for society. Beau’s Brewery, for example, gives work to young people who suffered homelessness. Not handouts, salary. It’s a terrific success.

4. Hear out their ideas

Ask them what they think. Don’t choose and saddle them with a pet cause that you like. Tell them you’d like to choose one and ask them for ideas. Encourage them to think like the folks at Beau’s—and choose a cause that would benefit directly from your company’s activities.

5. Join a community of like-minded leaders

Excite them by joining a global movement! If you run your company well, treat your employees well, have strong community ties, keep waste and pollution low and maybe even sell something that’s inherently beneficial for society, then you’re a prime candidate to join the global movement of entrepreneurs whose companies attract Millennials in droves: certified Beneficial Corporations (B Corps).

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