Sustainability for the Social Media Generation
I was sponsored through University by the Ministry of Defence. Initially, I had no problem with this – after all, every country has the right to defend itself and there are plenty of very real bad guys out there. But over time, particularly when I continued working for the Ministry after University, I grew uneasy, partly due to squeamishness at the grim reality of developing machines to cause maximum damage to other human beings, but, possibly worse, I hated either justifying my career to other people, or ducking the “what do you do?” question altogether. When I eventually quit to go travelling the world with Mrs K, I promised myself that I would in future only do a job I felt passionate about doing – and voi-la!
When I was chairing a panel last week on Sustainability in Manufacturing, one of the panelists mentioned that young job-hunters were increasingly after jobs which were social media-friendly. For me, this was one of those penny-drop moments. If I felt pressure to have an ‘ethical’ job so I could avoid embarrassing silences in chats over a pint, what must the Insta-generation feel? Whether you have a dry, factual CV on your LinkedIn profile or whether you vlog your every waking moment, there is so much more scrutiny of your career now than at any time in history. No wonder young people increasingly want a job that is seen to be part of the solution than part of the problem.
One of the key tests of employee engagement – the holy grail of modern management science – is whether your employees would recommend you as an employer. What better way than having your employees post about how your organisation is investing in renewable energy, using cargo bikes for deliveries or developing products accessible to the global poor? Look at your Twitter feed and I’m sure you will see tweets in this vein. So if you want your current employees to help attract the next generation, or new customers for that matter, give them plenty of ammunition – of the nice variety!