Many nonprofit executives are working hard to address the leadership gaps within their organization, partly as a result of the demographic changes in the labour market and the growth across the nonprofit sector. While boards and executives should to be mindful of their recruitment and retention tactics, having a deep understanding of generational motivators will help build organizational capacity.
There is much written characterizing millennials (Gen Y) and their place in today’s workforce. Some not always positive. As we attempt to understand this cohort, it is essential be don’t broadly paint the whole with the negative perception of a minority.
Based on much of the research I have seen, the nonprofit sector like that of the profit sector, is not immune to the challenge of attracting and retaining talent.
Broadly, millennials want to work with organizations that:
Have a clear purpose. Nonprofits generally have a clear, well articulated mission statement and often current vision statements that appeal to millennial candidates.
While these statements are front and centre, what is essential for the nonprofit is the ‘how’ they are demonstrated at every corner of the workplace. Millennials can easily fact check organizations on their authenticity, transparency and measurable social impact beyond what is said in your recruitment process. They may well be examining if the purpose is entwined in every aspect of the organization.
Has values that align with their own. With all the critique of millennials wanting or expecting to much, I have found them to be very clear about their values.
It is through self-awareness and ability to articulate their own values that millennials will size up if they are aligned with the specific organization’s values. The ‘we do good’ isn’t a one size fits all to them, nor is it enough to espouse values, but to practice organizational integrity to uphold them (millennials show little patience for such disconnects).
Do work that matters. Put to the loyalty test organizations need not only focus on the end results (measurable), but also the how (process) to bring about meaningful change. Millennials place significant importance on the quality of their time, and organizations being mindful of focusing on the work that matters in a way that upholds purpose and values appeal to millennials.
Is a place where people are valued and respected. We are living in a time organizational culture is everything, and everything represents culture. Nonprofit organizations should be vigilant with their own people as much as the communities they serve. If organizations are operating contrary to authentic equal respect and value for all – Millennials will read the BS meter and walk.
Author, Keith D Publicover is a Toronto based Charity Impact and NonProfit Management Consultant with more than 30 years in the Sector. He owns/operates the social enterprise – Resolute Clothing Co which raises financial resources from products sold to support vulnerable youth.