Study Shows Millennials Want Business to Put People Over Profit

February 11, 2016


New Deloitte report says that millennials are looking for businesses with a sense of purpose.

According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, two-thirds of millennials in the workplace will want to leave their organizations by 2020. That's a staggering statistic, particularly in today's office culture in which ping-pong tables, regular team happy hours, and dog-friendly Fridays, seem to abound.

So, what gives? Well, Deloitte's report suggests that what millennials are really, really looking for, is a shift away from a profit-centric business focus, to a culture that's focused on purpose. In that ideal, people are at the core of business operations and strategies.

Yes, survey results indicate that business is moving in the right direction, compared to previous years. For example, millennials are more likely than last year to agree that businesses “behave in an ethical manner” (58 percent versus 52 percent) and that “their leaders are committed to helping improve society” (57 percent versus 53 percent). While that's encouraging, the report finds that a majority (54 percent) still feel that businesses have "no ambition beyond making money."

Putting employees at the core of business is one of the ways that organizations could increase workforce retention, motivation, and satisfaction. Greater employee engagement may be a critical part of that. Our 2015 Corporate Citizenship Conference, Connect the Dots: How Businesses Solve Global Challenges Locally, had several panels and discussions on that very topic.

In past years' studies, there has been a gap between millennials' priorities and those of leadership. This year, however, that divide seems to have shrunk. Now, company leaders are recognizing more and more that business needs to put people over profit.

Good corporate citizenship strategies are a huge part of that, and CCC is a great resource for developing those programs. From what this study tells us, there's a big opportunity for business to bridge the gap from profit to people. Recognizing the value of corporate citizenship as the foundation of good business might just be the first step.