Community Focus Matters to the Millennials

The millennial generation gets a lot of flack for being lazy, overconfident, arrogant, self-centered, and much more. But if you look deeper, we may be seeing a generation that is more community focused than any before it.

If you ask a millennial what they value in companies that they choose to work for often times community involvement will be listed at the top. When it comes to companies they buy from, the answer is the same. Millennials want to work for an organization that is invested in bettering the world. That can mean donating employees time to causes in the towns they have offices in. Or it could mean donating a portion of their revenue to charities around the world or within their individual communities. That is why products like Toms and WeWood have seen success with a young market. Or campaigns like Apples (PRODUCT)RED or Amazon Smile increase sales for the big tech companies.

This is a generation that believes in giving back and doing good. They may not always have the money to donate to organizations…yet, but someday they will. For now, they would rather work and support businesses that can donate resources that they can’t. And when they have spare time, they want to give back in whatever form they can.

If you are a millennial looking to get involved in your community consider some of these ideas:

    • Organize a charity race in your community for a cause
    • Become a local zoo member and make it a family activity
    • Donate to your local parks society
    • Join a nonprofit board, this could be for a beautification committee, a school board, or art group. There are many nonprofits that you may not even know about in your community
    • Reach out to the local food back during a non-holiday time and see what they need
    • Become a hospital or nursing home volunteer

There are so many different things you can do to get involved in your community and give back that don’t cost anything but your time. When you are young and have fewer commitments, this is the perfect time to find your passion and how you like to give back. As you get older, you may find you have less time to donate and are more willing to give in financial ways. The choice is yours but when everyone comes together in a community, a lot of amazing things can happen.

So the next time you look at a millennial and think they are self-centered, ask them what they are doing on their weekends. They may be giving back to their alma mater, coaching a youth sports team, running a local 5k for a cause or spending time at the local food bank. This may be the best time to stop stereotyping a generation and start seeing how you can get involved.

It is Time for the Millennials to Be Part of the Conversation

It is Time for the Millennials to Be Part of the Conversation

There has never been a better time than now to take matters into our own hands when it comes to our careers. As a millennial, I have been stereotyped into many categories including:

  • Lazy
  • Spoiled
  • Entitled
  • Over-educated

We have also been blamed for many things including the state of affairs today. At the end of the day, some of those things are true about some people. But never forget that any generalization about a generation is just that, a generalization.

The Women Millennials

As an educated millennial woman in a profession that has been dominated for hundreds of years by older, white men, it is time for this group of woman to take ownership. We can no longer afford to have others drive our careers for us nor can we afford to sit on the sidelines. Sitting on the sidelines has never been a game I have been good at; however, for many of my peers, they have been able to play it just as they have been instructed.millennials-on-the-rise

I am aware that my mentality can often scare people off and can sometimes be offensive but I am also not okay with standing by when things do not seem right. This can be anything from a poorly managed project to a policy change that was driven top down. I do not believe I would be doing myself, my family, or whoever I am working for at a given time.

Let’s Be Part of the Conversation

Nation-wide decisions and assumptions about the millennial generation are being written and made; however, most often, millennials are not involved in those conversations. One of the biggest things that has to change, in regards to the way we have always done it is that we have to allow the different generations to talk. Failure to understand each other will continue to drive unrest in the people of the workforce.

I am fortunate to have developed relationships with people who I trust and can go to in order to talk through a tough situation. But not everyone has established such relationships nor are they in a position to work for a company that is willing to listen. As a country, we have to work together to set us all up for success.

As a country, we have to work together to set us all up for success.

It is Time to Start Talking about Millennial Loyalty

buffalo halfFirst off, where did the summer go? It is already Labor Day Weekend and I feel like I was just running the Buffalo Half Marathon over Memorial Day Weekend. It is pretty crazy how time flies.

This summer was filled with amazing memories including Brian and I buying our first house together, a vacation to remember with my family, and weekend trips to visit family and friends. It was everything a summer should be.

And now it is time to look forward and on to what is happening through the end of the year. Can you believe it Christmas is just about 4 months away? I know very scary thought, but I did buy my first Christmas present already. I am not crazy, it’s only one!

As part of my summer reading list, I have been tackling the book: Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw. We are reading the book as part of iGen, the resource group I help lead within the bank. The book is a very fast read with relevant examples that touch all of the generations in the workforce right now. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with multi-generational relationships whether in work, school, or personal life.sticking points

The author is very quick to point out when the chapters are millennial-focused and that is because they are the newest generation in the workforce that everyone is still trying to understand. But Shaw also points out that every generation once was new and was disrupting the way things had always been done. Millennials are no different but other generations tend to forget.

buffalo half marathonOne of the points that is top of mind for me is Loyalty. As any reader of my blog will know, I am very passionate about my generation not being stereotyped. I hate when people assume all millennials are the same. They also make assumptions that we as a whole group want to job hop and will never be loyal to one company. I don’t think this is the case at all. I think our generation would love to stay loyal to one company; however, we have a lot of factors working against us.

The Reality

Long gone are the days of pensions in most businesses. I work for an organization that has seen incredible returns on its stock in the last 30+ years – but we live in a time when the market is uncertain. My generation has seen the market crash, many of us looking back and wishing we had taken advantage. We have seen incredible progress in our country but we have also seen people squander it away. We have seen the worst in people with the attacks of 9/11, Orlando, Paris, and too many others to count. We are living through a political nightmare during this presidential race where our country has become an ongoing joke for the rest of the world.

But worst of all, we live in a world where our colleges post average graduation salaries and how much their students are making at different intervals throughout their career. We are competitive and overeducated. We have also been told that by staying in one place for too long, you are leaving wealth on the table. It is a scary reality to be told if you are loyal to one company your entire career – you will leave 50% of your lifetime wealth on the table. Unfortunately, nothing is being done to fight that statistic. It is hard for most of my generation to turn down a lifetime having 50% more security especially when housing prices are going up, student loan debt is at record highs, and the cost of living is not going down.

Even in a city like Buffalo where compared to a city like NYC the cost of living is “cheap”. It is not as “cheap” as it once was. I am so glad I bought my house when I did because the housing marketing is extremely competitive and expected to increase 30% more by next year.

So loyalty for the millennials is not about wanting to leave a company but often times need. They may say you should never leave a job for money but with a highly competitive generation on the rise, when one finds out what one person with the same background is making, it can get interesting. And with a generation that shares information all the time, salary has become a non-taboo subject which will be interesting to see how this plays out amongst the other generations in the workforce who do not talk about salary openly.

Needless to say, I am excited to see what comes out of our discussion in the next few weeks. And the progress that my organization can make towards having the 4 generations working together to make an even more incredible organization that I am proud to work for.