Ask a Millennial: Is Do-goodism a Deal Breaker?

Our Senior Millennial Correspondent Anna Fitzpatrick on why companies can no longer just pay lip service to noble causes

Written by Anna Fitzpatrick

With millennial employees now ascendant in workplaces across the land, managers are grappling with how to hire, retain and engage them. In our new continuing series, Anna Fitzpatrick answers our burning questions about how to approach this exotic species of office fauna.

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Organic, sustainable, ethical—young people supposedly want the stuff they buy and the places they work to be all this and more. Is do-goodism really a deal breaker?

The phrase “social justice warrior” has become a pejorative, much as “PC culture” was mocked in the ’90s—as if over-earnest young people are the worst thing. (Hello, have you even read the news lately?)

But we millennials aren’t just talk. Forbes estimates 75% of us prioritize socially responsible companies, both in our buying and working habits. And it’s really not enough for a firm to pay lip service to noble causes.

“I often consider the composition of a company’s board and executive team to see if their espoused values truly reflect their reality,” says activist Jamia Wilson, the executive director at the non-profit Women, Action, & The Media. “I also read staff reviews to get a sense of work-life balance, pay equity and how people of colour and women are treated.” She’s not alone: We care, and we do our research.


Originally appeared on