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Millennials: ‘We demand more’

Millennials. They’ve come of age in a digital era. Exposed to the world’s woes − climate change, human rights abuses, recessions and more – their social and political consciousness says, ‘we expect more’. And, they’re pulling the rug from under us all.

Millennials – people born in the 1980s or 1990s − have a whistle and they’re not afraid to blow it. Their choices − how they invest their earnings, careers they pursue, innovations they drive, and more – mean the shape of business future is theirs to mould. Deloitte research shows that, by 2020, the aggregated net worth of millennials globally could reach up to $24 trillion.

Millennials are the largest proponents of so-called impact investing. Research shows that just under 70% of millennials link investment decisions to their social, political or environmental values. Only 44% of Generation X members (born from the early 1960s to late 1970s) reported the same. Then, 73% of millennials believe market-rate returns are possible from investing in companies that have social and environmental impact.

A strong brand is not enough to lock a millennial into a sale. Headlines like ‘Amazon: devastating expose accuses Internet retailer of oppressive and callous attitude to staff’ or ‘The BBC doesn’t do equal pay: why female staff are fighting back’ erode trust. Millennials expect something that we, at Discovery, describe as shared-valuebusiness must do well by first doing good. Business that ignores this rallying cry suffers damage to reputation and revenue.

In a world of escalating healthcare costs, millennials prize work/life balance highly. Many millennials are exercising and using technology to track training data, eating smart and smoking less. While Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers define being healthy as ‘not falling sick’, millennials define it as being well − through exercise and eating healthily.

Why does a healthy millennial population group matter? Employee health and productivity boost a company’s earnings exponentially. In 2017, 50% of the world’s population was under the age of 30. By 2025, millennials will comprise three-quarters of the global workforce.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Annual Survey found that over 40% of young people identify a sense of purpose and impact on society as one of the most important professional criteria. It’s time for the triple bottom line − ostensibly driving sustainability for People, Planet and Profit − to evolve and measurably enhance society. That’s what millennials want. Their unique world view has forced us all to examine how we do business for decades to come – for the better.

Millennial minds want innovation

The force shaping today’s business landscape is a youthful, powerful, socially sensitive, collective mind that wants shared-value to predominate. At the March 2018 Discovery Vitality Food Summit, Dean Kowarski, CEO of Real Foods (that owns Kauai and Nu Health Food groups), said: ‘Business can’t maintain a sustainability status quo. Millennials demand that food companies also reverse environmental damage. Healing is a new business mandate.’ Kauai’s ‘no plastic straw’ policy and others like it are, for millennials, the basics of getting it right.

Want the best of the millennial talent pool? Consider what your triple bottom line says − to young people.

This article was originally published in ASA.