When young employees join companies, it often doesn't take long for topics such as the environment and climate change to take center stage. Even the job interview revolves around sustainability, especially when it comes to business trips, commuting, the efficient use of buildings or even concepts for protecting the environment. It is not uncommon for demands to be made louder for time to be set aside at work to get involved in society. While tradition and the history of a company are still important to Generation Y, their successors pay less attention to this. In contrast, ecological orientation and meaningful work are becoming increasingly important for younger people. (6)
However, generations can also agree: Y and Z, for example, share a strong desire for self-realization. Digitalization is also a factor: while millennials, i.e. Gen Y, have grown up with advancing digitalization, representatives of Gen Z were born completely into the digital world. (1)
The attitude of young workers: "I have to do something for our planet."
Both Gen Y and Gen Z attach great importance to finding employers who also suit them on a personal level. The right corporate culture and values play a major role in this. The promotion of diversity and inclusion, social commitment and sustainable action on the part of the company are the top priorities for many when it comes to choosing a job. (4)
Grievances are not accepted: Fridays for Future, demonstrations for better treatment of animals and petitions for the sake of the environment - large sections of Generation Y and Generation Z are committed to social issues. The majority are committed to environmental protection, as the people surveyed see a healthy planet as the basis for their personal and professional existence. Millennials in particular are interested in the state of our environment and will do anything to guarantee their descendants a carefree life on earth. (2)
Companies use the values for the "war of talents"
The world of work is changing: the baby boomer generation is now gradually retiring, which means that corporate values and ideas are undergoing drastic change. A considerable proportion of Gen Y and Z, for example, believe that social commitment increases the attractiveness of employers. Companies that address these issues and are even active are superior to other companies from the perspective of both generations and benefit in the battle for young talent. 68 percent - according to a Greenpeace study, this is the proportion of 15-24-year-olds for whom the environment is extremely important. Leading companies and corporations in Germany have therefore long since integrated the sustainability trend into their strategy. This also means that they not only anchor success on a financial level. They also define it in terms of the impact of their actions on the environment. Current challenges, such as the shortage of skilled workers, are bringing these issues even more into the spotlight. Those who act sustainably are therefore more successful - also when it comes to recruiting. (3)
Sustainability is a matter of definition
What sustainable action means needs to be explained in more detail. Is it enough to do without paper in the office? Should trees be planted during the company outing? Or should sustainability be named the most important priority and all actions be guided by it? The consequences influence climate-neutral and fair manufacturing and logistics or plastic-free production. Companies should not only comply with the specified climate protection measures or bow to public pressure in order to convince young talent of their worth. They should do more: take action of their own free will and assume responsibility. After all, the requirements of politics are often not enough! And that in turn means that companies can only reach the younger generations with an honest commitment to greater sustainability. (5)