conscious cultureA good thing is happening. More companies are awakening to what a conscious culture can mean for their business, and Millennials will be instigating more change on how purpose and profit are intertwined within an organization.

Achieve, in partnership with the Case Foundation, added to their 2014 Millennial Impact Report with a six-month research update entitled “Inspiring the Next Generation Workforce.”

What inspires Millennials to join an organization?

A career search now includes a review of what an organization’s cause is, if any. In fact, 39% of Millennials take a look at this information prior to an interview. During the interview, if cause work is discussed, 55% were influenced to take the job.

What does this have to do with a profit-making organization? This simple quote sums it up well:

“I took the position here because if a company cares that much about outside causes, then I know they are invested in treating me right as an employee.”

Part of being treated “right” includes “having their passions and talents used to their fullest.” Fifty-three percent said this. The connection between cause and talent is this:

Millennials (and all of us) want to use our skills as fully as possible and as often as possible.

The research showed that 97% of Millennials favored using their individual skills to help a cause. When we have these opportunities, we feel fulfilled and we always sharpen what and how we do things. Our talents increase. This is a win-win for the individual and the organization! This is a big win for a conscious culture.

After all, culture is the values, principles, and practices of an organization. But what enlivens a culture are the conscious actions. Consciousness is embodied in the way individuals care for each other and build trust between each other. A conscious culture is a true reflection of how individuals act within the four walls and outside the four walls of an organization. Through this awareness, a culture becomes more effective, more fulfilling, and more attractive to prospective new hires.

This is the promise Millennials are looking for and other generations are as well. This is the type of meaningful workplace we need to build and sustain.

Three Elements to Crafting a Conscious Culture

As I read through the Achieve research, three elements stood out as ideas to pursue in building a conscious culture now and for future generations. The essential elements respect the individual and community while flattening the hierarchy of needs. Here are my three highlights.

Give separately, work together in purpose. Corporate giving campaigns seem forced. What is not forced is what individuals give on their own. Millennials are giving individuals with 88% donating to a nonprofit in 2013. Unlike the giving, volunteering with a colleague is preferred. Seventy-eight percent of Millennials prefer serving with a group of team members. Side-by-side work for a charitable initiative builds that warm reflection of the conscious culture.

Culture should not subdue individuals to conform to where an organization believes dollars should be given. Individuality is important in what resonates from the heart. Conscious culture does embrace the talents of the many to deliver good works for a larger community. These meaningful activities build camaraderie and embed the values and principles in a broader context, producing an enduring reflection of what the culture is all about.

Respect the individual heart-filled purpose. Shine the light of your culture by bringing many talents together for a larger cause.

Care for community equals care for team members. The earlier quote really did say it all. If a company cares for team members, reflecting this principle by doing good work outside the company matters. Words are hollow. Actions are words unspoken yet loudly heard. This needs to be remembered in building a thriving culture. (tweet to share)

Acting for the well-being of team members rises above a whisper of truth and trust. Acting for the well-being of stakeholders rises above the speaking voice of honesty and commitment. Acting for the well-being of a larger community shouts the values and principles of truth, trust, and a compassionate and conscious way of life and leadership.

Embrace and engage a community within your organization and take these actions into a larger environment. When done right, you will continue to attract the right talent to foster your growth.

Flattened hierarchy of needs. Survival first, purpose next. While survival is about living well and providing for a family, purpose includes family and adds in company and community. Purpose weaves through many strands of work and life. The outcome is impact and fulfillment – impact in results, fulfillment in applying talents in meaningful and complete ways.

Maybe clarity of needs is unfolding as new generations come forward. We need to support ourselves through good salaries and appropriate benefits. From here, purpose weaves through the rest of why we do what we need to do and how we do it. As highlighted from the research:

“Cause work gives more meaning to the job than just a paycheck. Life isn’t about the money you make; it’s about what you do with your life to impact others.”

Deliver a culture with purpose-filled work – inside and out. (tweet to share) Provide the foundation to help team members provide for themselves and others important to them.

How do you build a conscious culture for all generations?