, For Millennials And Gen Zs, Social Issues Are Top Of Mind—Here’s How Organizations Can Drive Meaningful Change, The Nzuchi News Forbes

For Millennials And Gen Zs, Social Issues Are Top Of Mind—Here’s How Organizations Can Drive Meaningful Change

, For Millennials And Gen Zs, Social Issues Are Top Of Mind—Here’s How Organizations Can Drive Meaningful Change, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Millennials and Generation Zs have long pushed for social change, but the 10th annual Deloitte Global Millennial and Gen Z Survey reveals that they believe the world has reached a tipping point on issues such as racial justice, inequality and the environment. 

Millennials and Gen Zs are taking action to drive the change they want to see in the world. They are becoming more politically involved, making a conscious effort to ensure they spend their money with companies that reflect their values and pushing for change on societal issues. They believe in their individual power to make a difference, but they are also demanding that businesses and governments do their part to help build a better future.

“The recent embrace of stakeholder capitalism is, at least in part, an illustration of the influence millennials and Gen Zs have already had. Businesses are increasingly being held accountable for their impact on society,” says Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Deputy CEO and Chief People & Purpose Officer. “However, less than half of these younger generations currently say that business is having a positive impact on society, which is a stark reminder that companies have much more work to do.”

Fighting For Racial Justice 

Six in 10 Gen Zs and 56% of millennials say that systemic racism is fairly or very widespread throughout society. But, a year after the murder of George Floyd fueled the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Deloitte’s survey shows that more than half of millennials and Gen Zs believe that society may be on the precipice of real change when it comes to systemic racism. 

Somewhere between 15 million and 26 million people in the United States participated in demonstrations in the weeks following Floyd’s death, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people around the globe to take to the streets in solidarity. 

“The size and geographic spread of the protests, the use of social media to share information widely and public support from organizations who might typically have stayed on the sidelines have kept the issue of systemic racism in the spotlight,” says Parmelee. “While much more will be needed to eradicate racism, many feel encouraged that real change is possible if people and organizations continue to take action.”

For many millennials and Gen Zs, the issue of racial justice is deeply personal. At least 1 in 5 of those surveyed by Deloitte say they feel personally discriminated against all of the time or frequently because of an aspect of their backgrounds, such as race or gender identification. 

One-quarter of respondents also say they’ve experienced discrimination by their governments, and nearly the same percentage (22%) feel they’ve been discriminated against in the workplace. 

, For Millennials And Gen Zs, Social Issues Are Top Of Mind—Here’s How Organizations Can Drive Meaningful Change, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Although half of millennials and Gen Zs say individuals hold the greatest potential to help break down systemic racism, 3 in 5 believe that positive change will need to come from the top down—driven by changes in attitude and actions from those in power, such as business and government leaders. 

Prioritizing The Environment

“One of the few positive outcomes of the global pandemic has been the realization of how quickly individuals, organizations and institutions can change when necessary,” says Parmelee. “The temporary reduction in carbon emissions during the pandemic lockdowns, for instance, showed people how quickly these changes could lead to less pollution and cleaner water, stoking some environmental optimism.”

When it comes to the environment, about 40% of millennials and Gen Zs believe that more people will personally commit to take actions to address climate issues after the pandemic. These actions could include anything from recycling more and increasing their use of public transportation to changing eating habits and making fewer “fast-fashion” clothing purchases. 

While millennials and Gen Zs feel more positive about individuals’ commitment to protect the environment, they are concerned that business leaders will deprioritize the fight against climate change as they reckon with the aftermath of the pandemic.

This concern may be justified. Another recent Deloitte survey found that 65% of business leaders said their organizations needed to cut back on environmental sustainability initiatives in some way due to the pandemic. However, the same survey also found that, similar to many millennials and Gen Zs, business leaders are concerned about the environment and believe action is needed to mitigate the effects of climate change. None said that they were planning to stop their sustainability efforts completely, indicating that environmental sustainability will remain on the agenda despite setbacks from the pandemic. 

How Millennials And Gen Zs Are Pushing Businesses To Drive Change

Many millennials and Gen Zs make decisions about their careers and about where they shop based on their values. Forty-four percent of millennials and 49% of Gen Zs surveyed said that, over the past two years, they have made choices about the types of work they would do—and the organizations they’d be willing to work for—based on their personal values. And as consumers, they often stop or initiate relationships based on how companies treat the environment, protect personal data and position themselves on social and political issues. This year, almost a third of respondents started or deepened consumer relationships with companies based on their response to the COVID-19 crisis, while around a quarter stopped or lessened relationships for the same reason.

“Organizations that are not aligned with millennial and Gen-Z values risk losing favor with this large and increasingly influential cohort,” Parmelee says. “Business leaders can and should help drive meaningful change on the issues that matter most to these groups, like racial justice, inequality and climate change.” That could mean ensuring the environment remains a priority, even in challenging times.  

Or reevaluating the way their organizations look at hiring and retention to promote diversity and inclusion. 

“Driving societal change is not just the right thing for leaders to do, but it’s also good for business,” Parmelee says. “Those who are purpose-led and share and support these younger generations’ vision for a brighter future will come out on top.”

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