The secret to engaging Gen Z and Millennial workers – a sense of purpose

There’s been a major shift in workers’ priorities since the pandemic hit. Gen Z and Millennials in particular have ramped up the importance of value alignment in their list of workplace must-haves. Increasingly, they expect and demand a sense of purpose in their work that aligns with their personal values.


However, according to The Global Recruiter, there’s a major ‘purpose gap’ between employee expectations and reality. Happily, it also reveals how companies can ‘bring purpose to work’ on two levels.


First and foremost, young workers want their employer to positively impact society. This means they closely scrutinise company pledges regarding social and corporate responsibility to check that they’re delivering on their promises in an authentic and meaningful way. C-suite executives, therefore, need to consistently demonstrate how committed to their corporate values they are. One whiff of green-washing will send our young workers running for the hills.


Secondly, a company’s values need to align closely with employees’ individual needs and career goals, fuelling their own personal sense of purpose. Millennials and Gen Zers are very focused on the impact their work has on their personal lives. Feeling passionate about their work, having a positive work/life balance with the autonomy to choose when and how they work, and enjoying a good financial package all have a major effect on workers’ sense of personal purpose.


Even when companies are committed to providing this dualistic approach to ‘bringing purpose to work’, they can still fall at the internal communications hurdle. If they don’t shout about their values, ambitions, goals and initiatives, how are employees to know what’s going on behind the scenes?


The article ends with strong words. It claims that it’s only by understanding constantly evolving social trends and attitudes that businesses can deliver purpose alignment in a meaningful, authentic and effective way. And if you want to hold on to your best assets (i.e. people), you have no choice but to up your game in this most crucial of HR matters.


Do you agree with the thrust of this article? What other elements drive engagement in younger generations? Please get in touch – at or on 020 7092 3911 – to let us know your views and experiences on the subject. We would, as ever, be delighted to hear from you!