In the new age of activism, creating a better world is as important as creating good business.

The new generations entering the workforce need environments that support their social responsibility and interests. And this affects how businesses change.

A couple of weeks ago, I joined an evening hosted by the London School of Economics Anthropology Department and LSE Careers to connect students to alumni to help students gain a better understanding of their options, post-graduation. I do love the LSE. I graduated there in Social Anthropology in 1992 and what I learnt in my studies has plugged beautifully into my profession in business change where people are as critical to it as the technology.

It was I who gained a better understanding of the students’ ways of thinking. Overwhelmingly, students were more interested in how I developed my social responsibility career, the work I do above and beyond my ‘day-job’, to fundraise for organisations such the NSPCC (1) and IKWRO (2).

It was heartening to experience first-hand the interest in social responsibility that this student generation expressed on that evening. It seems that creating a better world is, for these students, as important as creating good business. LSE professor of anthropology and activism theorist David Graeber says that ‘at some point people are going to have to think about what their ultimate vision is’ as quoted by Charlie Gilmour in The Age of Activism (3). I suspect this student generation won’t stop until it finds it.

This got me thinking about business change...

Organisations must wish to attract graduates with good grades and a good conscience. I suspect that giving a day off, here and there, to ‘let them go paint old people’s home’ will no longer do. The cultural shift in the mindset of the younger generations brought on by the age of activism must be matched by a similar radical change in organisational thinking on recruit and retain practices.

How are employers creating environments where graduates with a strong social consciousness thrive? Do you know of organisations that successfully do so?

 

 

(1) See the Gherkin Challenge 2017. This event has raised more than £1 million for the NSPCC. (2) I am supporting IKWRO to build a garden at their women refuge. (3) Charlie Gilmour, The Age of Activism, ES Magazine 24.02.17
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