I am very fortunate to have a job where I focus on driving societal change every day, and I truly believe that business has a critical role to play in addressing society’s challenges. While I may have an optimistic view, I have observed increasing engagement and commitment from business to being part of solutions to the pressing global issues. But there is still a long journey to go—and we—the One Young World (OYW) community and millennials around the world, have a key role to play.
This year’s Deloitte Millennial Survey finds that less than half of millennials surveyed believe that businesses behave ethically and are committed to improving society—the lowest in four years. This may not seem surprising as we live in a world of growing inequality, rising social tensions, and the rapidly digitizing global economy that is changing the way we live and work. Reflecting on this decrease in millennials’ confidence in business, I echo Kate Robertson’s view shared during the webcast on 21 April, that it may be due to the lack of awareness about what many companies are doing to help create a more sustainable and equitable world.
ICYMI: Watch the replay of our #MillennialSurvey #webcast featuring Deloitte's Michele Parmelee & Matai Blacklock, in discussion w/ @OneYoungWorld's @kateatoyw & @Shilpacy. Moderated by @QuartzAtWork's @HeatherLandy. https://t.co/bvFlHzGPBh— Deloitte (@Deloitte) May 22, 2018
For example, at Deloitte we are committed to empowering 50 million people to succeed in the changing global economy by 2030, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This will require everyone in our organization to play a part, and a majority of Deloitte professionals around the world are, indeed, millennials. So the challenge then becomes providing meaningful opportunities for people to engage in such initiatives in a way that they can use their passion, skills, and talents.
There are many ways millennials are already leading in their workplace and the broader society. For example, my fellow Deloitte OYW Ambassadors in France are collaborating with local non-profit partners on addressing youth unemployment. Our Deloitte delegates from Africa this year are on the Millennial Board that helps shape the societal impact strategy in the region. And there are so many impactful OYW Ambassador-led initiatives around the world!
Of course, businesses must continue to prioritize and accelerate this agenda. They need to make a positive impact in the communities they work in, and create an inclusive and flexible culture in their own organizations. We, the millennials, are the talent, the consumers, and the leaders of the future that companies have to engage in order to remain competitive and relevant.
We can influence this with our own choices about the types of products and services we buy, the types of companies we choose to work for, and how we engage with social impact efforts in our organizations. Our actions will help advance businesses role in society, and shape it.
Justina Spencer is a OYW ambassador and a Global Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Manager at Deloitte. She collaborates with Deloitte colleagues, leaders, and non-profit organizations around the world to drive Deloitte's societal impact strategy and manage corporate responsibility programs and initiatives.
This blog reflects the views of the author, Justina Spencer, and not necessarily those of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) or any of its member firms. For more information about DTTL and its member firms, please visit www.deloitte.com/about.