5 things young people want: meaning, happiness and work-life balance


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A task with Sense and compatibility with private life are particularly important for people between 16-40. In addition to a strategy for flexibility, employers should also have a sustainability strategy.

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Naomi Ryland Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Naomi Ryland is co-founder and CEO of tbd *, a portal for social and sustainable careers.

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Sense before balance - and money

Young people in Germany want a job with meaning and pay attention to the social commitment of their future employer. This was the result of a survey by tbd. Over 1.000 young people between the ages of 16 and 40 were interviewed. They particularly agreed with five statements:

  1. It is important to me that I work for a job that has meaning (52,86%)
  2. It is important to me that the job fits into my (private) life (46,54%)
  3. It is important to me to do good in my job (40,67%)
  4. I am especially important to make a lot of money (26,74%)
  5. It is important to me that my employer shares my values ​​(21,12%)

12,19 percent also looked to the company's social commitment when choosing their next employer, and 11,5 percent wanted more commitment from the current employer.

Authentic Engagement = Employer Branding

For companies this means: pay attention! We millennials want a clear value system and commitment from our own employer. However, they also see through greenwashing and not very authentic “We are now there” CSR campaigns. A good CSR strategy must be credible and sustainable.

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Once a strategy has been established, it can bind existing employees more closely to the company and its goals. Employers can also choose authentic values ​​and goals when choosing an employer. Existing commitment should necessarily be integrated into employer branding measures.

The authenticity is in the detail

A company that really attaches importance to sustainability and social responsibility, takes this thinking into every area. Employees are continually encouraged to make small changes themselves. For example, I like the example of Unilever, where employees of a tea factory in England suggested that the paper labels on the tea bags could be reduced by 3 graph paper. To date, several tons of paper have been saved.

This kind of commitment comes when the values ​​of employees and employers are overlapping. Employees who know that proposals for more sustainability fit into company positioning are more likely to step up with such proposals. A clear sustainability strategy, in which the employees are involved, creates a long-term cultural change, which also radiates into employer branding.

Time for commitment: Make free spaces possible

No matter whether a company is itself active or still wants to be - there is a very simple way to give employees the opportunity to be more committed. Because 40 percent of respondents in the same survey told us that they simply have too little time to become socially or politically active.

Companies can easily help here by giving dedicated employees the freedom they need. Flexible working hours already help. But also internal incentives such as special “point accounts” for voluntary work. If such measures are offered, it will also be easier to recruit qualified employees with “sense” at the top of the wish list for the new job.

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German edition: ISBN 9783965962682

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English version: ISBN 9783965962699 (Translation notice)

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  1. DSA youngstar

    Sustainability and Flexibility enormously important for Millenials:
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  3. talent Rocket

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  4. REGIS GMBH

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  5. Thomas Eggert

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  6. Job college

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