Millennials Reveal Attitudes on Leadership

Millennials, those born after 1982, want companies they join to focus on improving society, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey. They are interested in job creation, profit generation and innovation, and 60% say they chose their employer based at least in part because the company provided a sense of its own purpose. Businesses identified by millennials as having a sense of purpose are closely linked to a significantly higher reporting of financial success, employee satisfaction and recruitment, Deloitte found.

Those surveyed also identified a need for renewed or revamped leadership. Millennials want leaders to focus on the long-term future of the organization, employee well-being, employee growth and development, and the company’s contribution to local communities and the broader society in which it operates. They also place less emphasis on personal income and rewards and short-term financial goals. Treatment of employees is considered a bellwether and is this generation’s most important consideration when deciding if a company is a leader.

Profiles of senior executives, a company’s scope or scale, and its overt charitable activity matter little to this demographic. Leadership as defined by millennials focuses on a set of traits; the top five are named here in order of importance, highest to lowest: strategic thinking, being inspirational, having strong interpersonal skills, having vision, demonstrating passion and enthusiasm, and exercising decisiveness. That decisiveness, however, becomes unpopular if it is characterized as autocracy, and the positive emphasis on profit generation turns sour if the company is seen as being driven by financial results.

Deloitte says its findings are a “valuable alarm” that should awaken companies to the need to alter the way they engage millennial talent.