When it comes to their job, the millennial generation seeks more than money. They want to be associated with organizations that are addressing societal issues. Their empowerment, meaning, and sense of purpose are attached to their work. Hence, millennials seek community and spirituality inside workspaces too. In other words, they want to belong. Why? Because that’s where they feel they have influence.
The question we’re asking: can our workplace cultures rise to this expectation? The good news: they already are! Many companies have offerings that are helping millennials connect with each other at a deeper level. This movement is allowing employees to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work, thus increasing employee engagement and well-being. What are these offerings? Let’s look at some ideas:
- Creating space for digital detox. In a study by Intel Security, it was found that 49% of millennials are willing to switch off their digital devices, and unplug at any given opportunity. However, more than half of this group is unable to do so! Those who did, reported feeling less stressed, more engaged with their friends/ family, and had a sharper ability to absorb their surroundings.
Experiences like Burning Man, Woodstock, and Camp Grounded, cater to this exact need of digital detox. In our hyper-connected, intertwined digital lives, we need to focus on making space for being human: personal freedom, creative thinking, and making friends based on laughs and conversations. It offers not only a digital cleanse, but also a break from online personas. Is that important? Absolutely. Our social media life is making us lonely, posing both mental and physical problems.
- Inviting movement and exercise. It is no coincidence that there has been a spike in the use of health and fitness devices/ products. Millennials place a lot of emphasis on taking care of both their mind and body. 32% of them say they’re willing to pay a premium for healthier food products, and 35% agree that seeing a therapist on a regular basis is deeply beneficial.
How does this help in building community? Organizations like CrossFit, SoulCycle, and Zumba are leading the way. By designing common spaces for exercise, and creating a fun, motivating atmosphere, they are helping people hold each other accountable for their well-being, and making it easy to seek support. Health, be it mental or physical, is not a personal entity anymore. Instructors play the role of leaders who set goals, and cheer people on to achieve them.
- Being part of a bigger picture. Millennials are purpose driven, want to do meaningful work, and contribute to social transformation. This, while they feel disillusioned by the current political system and religious institutions. Only 18% of them believe that the current political/ religious systems address important issues. Thus, they are looking for other avenues to own the change.
Organizations like USDAC and CTZNWELL are meeting this need. By building spaces, where people can address issues they care about, using arts, journalism, or mediation as a medium. The intention: to build local relationships and unite for a common cause, independent of governing bodies.
What does this mean for you? No matter what the program is, holding space for vulnerability, mediating conflict, facilitating small groups, and active listening, is the need of the hour. Offering millennials opportunities to step away from their work, and build relationships with their colleagues through varied shared experiences, will help them belong. After all, this is the purpose driven, socially engaged generation.