You and that millennial? You’re both looking for meaning in your work
Baby boomers and millennials often are portrayed as two generations that don’t always see eye to eye in the workplace.
But they may share something in common that could help bridge the generation gap.
Both groups long to find a purpose in their careers beyond a paycheck, said Jackie Dryden and Bethany Andell, co-authors of Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose.
“Millennials are not only worried about how much money they earn, but also about how they earn it,” said Andell, president of Savage Brands, which works with companies to build purposeful brands. “They gain satisfaction from their work when they feel they are contributing to something larger and more valuable than the company’s earnings.”
Baby boomers, idealistic in their youth, somewhere along the way became part of the system they fought to change, she said.
Now, nearing retirement, many look back and wonder what kind of legacy they will leave.
“They’re reigniting their earlier desire to add meaning to life,” Andell said.
Dryden and Andell said tapping into the two generations’ longing for meaningful work can create an improved outlook for businesses. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Everything a company says and does contributes to building its brand. Because of this, the actions and attitudes of employees are central to the brand experience for the customers.
2. Too many companies begin their pursuit of success by focusing on profit. Dryden and Andell said a better route to sustainable success is to flip traditional business thinking upside down and start with purpose. Purpose drives performance, and performance drives profits.
3. Customers feel better about buying from or working with brands they connect with in some way. When they connect with the purpose for why a company exists, they begin to feel as if they are a part of something meaningful, just as the employees do. This deeper relationship adds value to every interaction customers have with the company, building loyalty for the brand.
“When you have two generations – one older, one younger, but both seeking greater meaning at work – there’s an incredible opportunity,” Dryden said. “But that opportunity can only be seized if a company’s purpose and values align and connect with employees on a level beyond the bottom line.”
For more information, visit savagethinking.com.
Jackie Dryden and Bethany Andell are co-authors of Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line. Dryden is chief purpose architect at Savage Brands, which works with companies to build purposeful brands. She also is author of Just Me: What Your Child Wants You to Know About Parenting. Andell is president of Savage Brands. She is an MBA graduate from Rice University’s Jones School of Management, a regular speaker and author of several articles recently published in the Houston Business Journal.