Why Millennials and Gen Z Matter
It should come as no surprise that we’re living in strange times. I spend more time than I should glancing at Twitter, getting an unfortunate daily dose of intolerance, confusion, and anger. But, more often than not, I still walk away optimistic as I see my feed filled with the positive statements and actions of a generation that’s been discounted, one that’s only just beginning to get everyone’s attention: the young Millennials and Generation Z. These groups represent the college grads who’ve recently entered the workforce and the students who will start their career search within the next 3-5 years.
When you work in corporate social responsibility (CSR), attracting and retaining key talent who will participate in your company’s community engagement programs is something you give a lot of thought to. The 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement study found that 88% of Millennial employees say their job is more fulfilling when employers provide opportunities to make a positive impact. These young adults give me hope and drive me to create CSR programs that not only deliver impact but also engage participants in a meaningful way.
Of particular interest to me in my current role are those Gen Zers and young Millennials who are taking an interest in the rights of all women to have access to feminine care products. One great example is That Time of the Month’s Alissa Mayhaus. Alissa is the driving force behind the Dallas chapter of TTOTM, a monthly women’s night out that aims to connect women, while working to provide feminine products to women in need. From monthly happy hours where attendees bring donated feminine products, to delivering products to local shelters across Dallas, Alissa is using the power of positivity, connectedness, and fun to shine a light on a basic need for women across the region and engage colleagues in organizations throughout the community.
Whatever your company’s corporate responsibility focus may be, look for ways to attract and engage all generations of employees, but don’t overlook these younger demographics. You may not only find willing participants, but in fact, champions who can help take your efforts to the next level for years to come.
Erin Gollhofer is the Global CSR Consultant at Kimberly-Clark, Corp., where she develops CSR strategies to support business growth in key international markets and North America, including the global Toilets Change Lives program. Last spring she worked to deploy the Kotex / Plan International social impact program in Bolivia, helping adolescent students and teachers in four rural communities gain access to clean, safe toilets and menstrual hygiene management education. Erin serves on the Community Health Charities Board of Directors and resides in Dallas, TX.