Editor’s Note: The following article is excerpted from the latest 16-page insert produced by Direct Selling News for The Wall Street Journal. The complete insert was distributed to over 1.2 million WSJ subscribers. Reprints can be ordered here.
What is it that draws people to a particular product in the first place? Function, style and price can be part of the equation, but sometimes it’s the desire to be a part of something bigger. TOMS famously gives “one for one”—a pair of shoes is donated for every pair a customer buys. A shared value system and a sense of community buoy the most well-known and successful brands.
As millennials grow to be the largest sector of the workforce, a company’s focus on purpose will become even more important. A demographic known to prioritize meaning over money in choosing jobs, millennials want to be associated with causes that are life-changing.
Rather than being daunted by the world’s problems, today’s workers want to be a part of the solution. They want to give back. Workers are drawn to companies that build philanthropy into their mission, such as Nu Skin with its Force for Good Foundation. This nonprofit focuses on both helping its sales force to give back in their own communities and on improving the lives of children around the world through medical, educational, and agricultural support.
Having a shared sense of purpose centered on worthwhile values like helping others and promoting physical and financial health is what takes a group of individuals and turns them into a community. And it’s that sense of community that makes a job more than a paycheck—it becomes a shared vocation. “Much like teams in sports, communities have a goal in mind, and they will not rest until it’s met,” says John Parker, Chief Sales Officer at Amway.
Careers that offer people flexible hours and the ability to work from the beach or the ski slopes are appealing to this generation, but freedom from the cube alone is not enough. The real draw for millennials—and those of any generation who want to live meaningful lives—is being part of a community that shares their values.