Thursday, May 28, 2015


The Millennial Quest for passion meaning at work your new competitive advantage.

My dad has been at the same company for almost thirty years.  The way older generations were raised is you find something and stick with it. With our generation it is about finding your passion. If you aren’t happy, quit, and find something else! We are much more open to switching majors, changing careers and starting fresh.”
- Julie Strand, age 23, sales representative at C.H. Robinson Worldwide...

Follow Your Passion
The above quote is an excerpt from the book, The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workforce, and Julie’s words really encapsulate an overall desire and driving force of the Millennial generation, of which I am a part. Like it or not, this generation—my generation—wants to derive meaning out of our work; it’s a daily activity that simply takes up too much of our lives to leave us feeling unfulfilled or left wanting more. We want work that draws upon our passions, which are wide-ranging and diverse. Some of us might actually want to do non-profit or charitable work, while others, like myself, may find meaning in feeling like the work that we enjoy and do makes a difference at an organization that we are proud to work for.  So call us entitled, narcissistic, na├»ve, or just kind of awesome, but the overwhelming majority of my generation wants to wake up each morning energized by the fact that our work offers us additional meaning and fuels our passionate lives.

With this in mind, it seems that this Millennial quest for meaning and passion at work is something that companies will need to face as my generation continues to fill the ranks in the workforce. If we are ignored, true to Julie’s quote, it could mean high (expensive and disruptive) turnover rates among the youngest and soon-to-be-largest cohort in your workplace. But here’s the good news—if harnessed appropriately, this Millennial search for passion and meaning could turn into a real source of competitive advantage for your organization. In fact, a recent study by Deloitte found that workers who bring passion to their jobs are more easily able to navigate challenges and accelerate performance improvement, increasing their overall productivity and creating a competitive advantage for their organization as a result.  The study also cites that companies that focus on creating environments that foster passion and that hire passionate people (like Millennials) will be better equipped to respond to the diverse challenges of the globalized competitive landscape.

Call me opportunistic, but Leaders, doesn’t this seem like a perfect situation? You know that unlocking your employees’ passions at work can create a competitive advantage for your company, and the largest and newest population of your workforce wants to find meaningful work that they are passionate about.  So now the question becomes: how can you help unleash the passions of your workforce?

For most people, finding your passion at work is something that takes time to unearth.  It takes experiencing your work and discovering where your passions lie. It also means experiencing and exploring the work of others to see if you can uncover hidden passions through connecting with colleagues to learn from their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. In this way, technology-enabled social learning is a great way to help get your employees sharing with one another and uncovering their passions while learning and developing (Can you say, “Killing two birds with one stone?”). Most Millennials know that our first job probably isn’t going to be the role we are the most passionate about in our entire careers, because everyone has to start somewhere and the current job market isn’t doing us any favors. That said, what we do expect is the flexibility to explore our passions and interests at work. If there aren’t mechanisms that allow for this exploration within the boundaries of our organization, we will search for our career-related passions by leveraging our personal networks that we are quite adept at keeping via social media (and to Julie’s point, find another opportunity outside of your organization).

In my mind, it’s never too late to find additional passions, interests, and meaning in your life, and in this way, technology-enabled social learning can also be a tool to help your multigenerational workforce discover how they can be even more connected to their work. Like Meghan Biro stated in a recent Forbesarticle on the topic, “Beneath any generational divide, we all want the same from our jobs: to be engaged and fulfilled mind, body and soul.” So start thinking about how you can provide employees, Millennial or not, the means and flexibility to explore, find their passions, and discover what makes their work meaningful, and you might just score some increased productivity and an edge over your competitors as a result.

Feel like weighing in on this subject of Millennials and/or meaningful and passionate work? Tweet at me using this twitter handle @3creek. I would love to hear your insights, thoughts, and personal perspectives on the topic!

Whatever is being written here are the personal views of the author and are subjected to agreement or disagreement. And a request to all members, Please share your views !!

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