Recent research suggests millennials, more than other generations, want to make a difference in the world. As such, they tend to seek careers that align to their priorities and beliefs. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, millennials prioritize the sense of purpose around people rather than growth or profit maximization.

Recently, we learned tips on how to attract and hire millennial sales talent. Building on that conversation, I enlisted the assistance of two talent acquisition experts, China Gorman and Jason Lauristen, to weigh in on what millennials look for in terms of corporate philanthropy. Here’s what they had to say:

Question: Have corporate responsibility and philanthropy kept pace with the demands of the millennial generation?

China Gorman: Work/Life balance and corporate responsibility/philanthropy resonate with almost everyone currently in the workforce, not just millennials. But as millennials are in the entry years of their careers their employers’ commitments in these arenas take on additional career decision-making weight. Boomers and gen xers may not quit a long-term employment relationship because of a lack of corporate philanthropic commitment. But millennials will certainly pass over job offers from employers with no track record of or commitment to corporate responsibility/philanthropy – unless other unique needs are met.

Culture ranking organizations like Quantum Workplace, Great Place to Work, and others all show data supporting the notion that corporate responsibility is a strong attraction and retention motivator for all the generations in the workplace today. Once the basic table stakes like fair and equitable compensation, appropriate benefits, and career development opportunities are met, cultural attributes like trust, fairness, engaging colleagues, philanthropy and corporate responsibility are strong motivators for career engagement. But if your sales organization doesn’t pay equitably, has less than competitive benefits and offers no training or skills development, then whether or not you have a strong corporate social responsibility stance will be meaningless. Corporate responsibility and philanthropy are important and the lack of them could knock your organization out of contention. But not in isolation. The basics must be met first.

Jason Lauristen: While some organizations have done a lot to demonstrate to their employees (and customers) that they care about and support their communities, most still have a long way to go if they are to live up to their younger employees expectations. More organizations are supporting team volunteer projects and some are even providing paid time off to employees to volunteer individually. And while this is good practice, it’s not nearly enough. 

Millennials appear to be seeking an organization that makes giving back and world improvement a part of how it does business. They want to see it woven into the very values and purpose of the organization. When this happens, it makes all jobs (regardless how menial) feel meaningful. And that leads to more motivated and engaged employees.  


Many struggles for equality were fought for me, a female gen xer, decades ago by feminist boomers. Millennials are unquestionably nudging Corporate America toward a more philanthropically responsible future. Through their efforts, a righteous corporate conscience will be a minimum expectation of employment, not just an aspirational vision.

About Our Influencers:

China Gorman is a successful global business executive in the competitive Human Capital Management (HCM) sector. She is a sought-after advisor and speaker bringing the CEO perspective to the challenges of building cultures of humanity for top performance and innovation. Follow China on Twitter.

Jason Lauristen’s calling is to make work better. He is an energetic keynote speaker who ignites positive change with practical ideas and strategies for creating a better work experience. Learn more about Jason or follow him on Twitter.

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