The millennial quest: Seeking a sense of purpose

Cover credit: Pexels

Cover credit: Pexels

Perhaps what I remember most about my childhood is how much my parents cared about money, a solid life and a planned future. The same goes for all their friends, their friends’ friends, and actually almost everyone else. Baby boomers, on the one hand, sought money and a stable life; that was their drive. Millennials, on the other hand, seek something that happens to be a lot less tangible: a sense of purpose.

I know that from pure personal experience. Many of the conversations I have with my colleagues and friends always end up in the same place: we want to feel our impact in the world, we want more than a paycheck to motivate us, we want to lead a fulfilling life.

The typical corporate life is on the decline and, according to a recent Forbes article, Why Millennials Are Ending the 9 to 5, self employment and freelance work is on the rise. A recent “Millennial Branding Report” found that around 45 percent of millennials prefer workplace flexibility over pay to better engage and enjoy a healthy work-life balance.

In the last decade, self-starters and entrepreneurs have been became the new trend. Firms are having a tough time trying to retain millennials, especially if they are not engaging and motivating them properly.

Karl Moore, a professor at McGill and a contributor for Forbes magazine, wrote that one change he's noticed while discussing careers with recent college graduates is what sorts of jobs they are aiming for. Many seek jobs with NGOs and specifically require that the firm they work for have a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

Everything mentioned above is why employee turnover has a become a huge problem for firms hiring millennials. What these firms need to realize is that with changing times come changing behaviors and ideals.

With millennials entering the workplace, employee engagement, retention, and motivation all need to be tackled in innovative and more comprehensive manners. A clear path must be set for new employees, one where both their value and impact is both stressed and felt; otherwise, they’ll be gone soon enough.

Money won't cut it with millennials. We are the generation that wants and seeks a purpose, vehemently so as well. And with everything going on around us, believing we can make the world a better place doesn’t seem like such a bad purpose.

What we do need to keep in mind, however, is that Rome was not built in a day and all good things take time.