A whopping 75 percent of US workers between the ages of 18 and 34 expect their employer to take positions on social issues affecting the country, such as civil rights, immigration, and climate change, a new survey from Glassdoor finds:
Furthermore, nearly four in five (84 percent) U.S. workers believe companies have an important voice in proposed legislation, regulation and executive orders that could affect the employer’s business or the lives of employees. …
The Glassdoor survey reveals that employees expect employer engagement on timely political and social issues. “Today’s informed candidates want to work for companies that are actively engaged on topics that directly impact their lives and align with their beliefs,” said Dawn Lyon, Glassdoor chief reputation officer and senior vice president of global corporate affairs. “Today’s candidates, especially younger job seekers, want to work at companies that take a stand and take action.”
These findings echo another study released earlier in the year, in which a majority of millennials said they thought CEOs and other business leaders should play an activist role and take public positions on social issues. CEOs are taking notice of this generational change: At the Fortune and Time CEO Initiative conference on Monday, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini remarked on how the millennial generation was changing the role of the CEO:
According to Nooyi, one factor is a changing workforce, which is now heavily populated with millennial workers who want their employers to embrace social issues. “They no longer look at is as [just] a paycheck,” she said. “They look at it as ‘How can I go to work and make a difference in society?’” The Pepsi CEO said that part of a chief executive’s duty today is to ensure that a company’s business goals align with initiatives that make a positive difference in the world. “We had to weave purpose into the core business model of the company,” Nooyi said. …
Bertolini also said he believes social media has significantly changed the role of the CEO in recent years. Any message coming out of a company can be instantly dissected on a large social platform, which affects how the company is perceived by the public as well as its employees. “All of our employees—who nowadays look for people, planet, then profits—have this broader view of how the world works and how we fit within it,” he said.
Another interesting finding from the Glassdoor survey is that, in keeping with their growing interest in social engagement, millennials want their employers to engage in community service and give them more opportunities to do so as employees. In fact, this demand is not specific to millennials, though younger workers are more likely than their elders to expect it:
Three-quarters (75 percent) of U.S. workers expect their employer to support groups and individuals in need in their respective communities, either through donations and/or volunteer efforts. This is much more important to younger workers, as 81 percent of those ages 18-34 expect this from their employer, more than any other age group: 76 percent ages 35-44, 68 percent ages 45-54, 73 percent ages 55-64 and 66 percent age 65 or older.
In addition, volunteering for social causes is no longer limited to outside of working hours, as half of workers (51 percent) expect their employer to allow employees to use work time and resources to advocate for positive social change, regardless of political affiliation. Consistent with other age group trends within the survey’s findings, younger workers expect this more (ages 18-34; 72%) than any other age group: 56 percent ages 35-44, 37 percent ages 45-64 and 26 percent age 65 or older.
This is why some organizations have begun presenting volunteer and community service opportunities to employees as a perk. By giving employees paid time off to volunteer either on their own or through a structured, employer-sponsored program, organizations that have taken this approach say it has improved employee engagement, loyalty, and retention.