Attracting, engaging and retaining Millennials with CSR

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You now have to do more than ever to attract and retain the best talent, and the expectations of younger employees are higher than the generations before them. Millennial employees (born in the early 80s onwards) are seemingly the hardest to please because they want the whole package. And the latest feature in that package is CSR.

When you first employed someone, you had to pay them a salary. Then you had to pay them a Living Wage. To compete with other companies like yours you also had to provide them with employee benefits. Next you had to ensure they were saving appropriately for retirement, so you had to Auto-Enrol your employees and start to increase their contributions.

Recently, the culture of your workplace was also seen as being key in attracting and keeping your best young talent. Now your company also needs to undertake action to make positive changes in the wider world. Corporate Social Responsibility, commonly known as CSR, is an approach that aims to encourage businesses to make those positive changes.

Company culture and CSR

A common theme amongst “good” employers is that their company values match their actions. Companies that are open and transparent with their employees and strive to make positive changes are more attractive than those that don’t. Companies that make genuine efforts to improve their local community or the wider world are also more likely to care about the people that work for them and provide extra support for development and/or work-life balance.

Another key reason why Millennials are attracted to companies that are dedicated to CSR is because they want a company they can trust. In turn, Millennials who trust their employer are more likely to be loyal and take pride in their company. As a result they are likely to be more engaged and more productive.

CSR initiatives

If you don’t already have a CSR initiative, think carefully about what you might want to get involved in and how it relates to what you do. Some companies have fallen foul of CSR, and just haven’t got it quite right:

Does it make sense?

A fast food franchise in the US said it would donate $1 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for every half-gallon “Mega Jug” of soft drink it sold.

Have you done your research?

The famous Toms Shoes scheme – “Buy One, Give One” – donated a pair of shoes to someone in the developing world for every pair sold. But in fact, they were accused of negatively impacting the income of shoemakers and sellers in those areas.

No cheating

Volkswagen created a range of “environmentally friendly” cars to beat their competitors. In fact these cars had emissions-cheating software installed in them, and they tried to hide this but were found out.


If you want to attract, engage and retain Millennial employees, you need to be providing more than just the basics. Your workplace culture and your company’s attitude to the wider world are just as important to young talent as a salary.

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About the author

Having worked within both the Jelf Money at Work and LaterLife teams, and now a Senior Marketing Executive focusing on these areas, Maddie has a passion for helping individuals and employers understand the importance of financial, physical and emotional wellbeing, and planning for the future.