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Attract Millennial Workers...and Keep Them

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Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, and are expected to make up 50 percent of the workforce soon. They differ from Baby Boomer and Generation X workers in several ways.

One main difference: Millennials don’t hang around long. A 2016 Gallup survey found nearly a quarter of the millennials contacted had changed jobs in the past year. That’s three times more than older workers. When asked if they expect to be working for the same company one year from now, only half of millennials answered affirmatively, compared to 60 percent of respondents from other generations. It’s as if they move in with their luggage already packed and ready to move on to the next job.

Will Work for Sustainability

Job hopping is not the only thing that makes millennials different. Green and sustainability issues also are more important to them than other generations. According to a Cone Communications survey, 75 percent of surveyed millennials reported they are willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that takes sustainability seriously and operates in an environmentally responsible manner, compared to 55 percent of older workers.

Millennials are curious and hold strong convictions, which they are not afraid to share with employers. “They are naturally opinionated skeptics that are perpetually filtering overwhelming amounts of sources and misleading content,” says Daniel Fisher with Ecosphere+, an organization that helps companies reduce their environmental footprint. “Millennials are…often suspicious of [the] information they receive. They question the companies’ motives and authenticity as they see beyond the bright lights and catchy slogans.”

Human resources departments are looking for new ways to attract and retain this growing segment of the workforce by touting their company’s environmental accomplishments. One way they are accomplishing this is by installing visual displays—large monitors that provide up-to-date information on how an employer is performing when it comes to sustainability and environmental responsibility. These monitors tell your company’s sustainability story with the data to back it up.

Putting Green Practices on Display for Employees

Few of us can comprehend what it means when an organization reports it is using 50 fewer tons of paper products today than in previous years. But if the display indicates the company’s paper product reduction efforts have saved several hundred trees from deforestation, that is valuable information millennials—and all workers—can understand.

Companies also use these displays to help them develop environmental goals. For instance, what if the visual display indicates the company currently consumes as much water as 200 average homes annually? The company could easily set a goal of bringing that number down to 175 homes within a set period of time.

With the goal set, the organization now steps into action, finding ways to reduce water consumption. Its efforts will be reported on the monitors, along with congratulations to the entire workforce for its sustainability efforts.

Visual displays of an organization’s sustainability key performance indicators help accomplish two significant challenges, especially when it comes to the millennial workforce. First, these displays satisfy millennials’ natural inquisitiveness. Employees can see exactly how the company they work for is performing environmentally at any time and in real time. Second, the displays remind employees they have been instrumental in helping their employer achieve an environmental goal. Employees who believe they make a difference are more likely to bond with their company, and that means millennials may actually unpack their bags and stay awhile.

Stephen Ashkin

Stephen Ashkin

Chief Executive Officer, The Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC

Stephen Ashkin is CEO of The Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC. The Sustainability Dashboard is a reporting system that measures and monitors energy, water, and fuel consumption to help reduce environmental impact and cost. For more information, email steve@green2sustainable.com.

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