Businesses struggle today in how to deal with the millennial workforce and yet, millennials are forcing the hands of companies to speak up and speak out on high profile environmental issues and on perceived social injustices.

Where government fails to act, millennials are demanding their employer or the company's they do business with, step up to the plate to make an impact beyond their bottom line.

Consumers today expect companies to not only address issues that impact their operations but also tackle broader society challenges. In a survey conducted earlier this year, Cone Communications found that consumers are not only looking at a company's products, they are studying the company's values.  Eighty-seven percent said they would purchase a product because that company advocated for an issue they cared about or decided not to buy because of the companies actions, or a belief counter to theirs.

Consumers want the companies they buy from to:

  • Be good employers;
  • Protect society and the environment;
  • Create products services or programs to ensure the well-being of society;
  • Invest in causes in my community and around the globe; and,
  • At and up for important social justice issues.

While a corporation's actions influence ones purchasing decision, it also impacts where people choose to work. Today's millennial want to leave work happy and fulfilled. So companies are starting to tackle difficult issues surrounding:

  • Economic development (Chase)
  • Early Childhood Education (PNC),
  • Poverty & Hunger (Panera and Kellogg)
  • Environment (REI)
  • Veterans (Starbucks).

While other companies are disrupting their own industry by their corporate decision making, such as: Google, owners, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Microsoft, Walmart, proctor gamble Tesla, Costco, target, REI and Samsung.

These companies are leaders and are doing so much more than checking off a box to show the world they are focused on sharing the values that drive their company and engage their employees in the process.

They have moved beyond messages and have shown with corporate social responsibility at their companies core. Rather than just telling us what they do, they show us.  For example:

If your company is not involved, start by finding a meaningful way to leverage your corporate values and finding the issues important to your employees, consumers and mission to make a greater impact.  Then tell us about it.

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