Corporate Sustainability

Submitted By schawkeye
Words: 1748
Pages: 7

Corporate sustainability is unsustainable. Or, perhaps stated more accurately is periodic and temporary, sustainable only to the extent that the goals and associated expectations of an organization correlate with the goals and expectations of its greatest assets, its employees and consumers. After all, individual interests, perspectives, tastes, and priorities differ across geographies, cultures, societies and demographics, all of which change over time. The concept of sustainability is twofold: on one hand it ensures that future generations do not suffer due to resource depletion by the current generation (resources must be considered not only in terms of tangible value but intangible value as well), and on the other is the plan whereby corporations seek to strive into the future. In terms of Generation Y, at present the corporate world’s most relevant generational talent pool, these two thoughts are mutually inclusive. Understanding that a major factor in corporate sustainability is the ability of an organization to acquire the resources necessary to uphold a brand while minimizing any negative footprint left behind, it is critical to consider another facet of corporate sustainability, the evolution and acknowledgement of the changing preferences of its employees, which ultimately leads to either viability or depletion. That is, corporations expecting to maintain profit maximization with the ‘same formula that has always worked’ will find themselves unable to attract and retain the type of talent that will be responsible for the type of workflow improvement, idea generation and brand identity that will drive desired performance into the future. Therefore, corporate sustainability in the upcoming decades will be dependent upon acknowledging the beliefs and differences Generation Y, as well as the potential resource depletion in terms of our most valuable resource, time, due to the establishment of precedents and expectations set forth by the ‘Baby Boomer generation’.
Generations are shaped and influenced by variables such as their environments, the teachings of their parent’s generation, as well as the events of the world around them and their ability and/or susceptibility to be influenced by them. Generation Y, often referred to as the ‘Baby Boomer Echo’, represents the children born in the period between 1979 and 1990 (2). Individuals of the aforementioned Baby Boomer generation, the parents of Generation Y (born 1946-1965), are typically stereotyped as extremely focused on work, possessing a strong work ethic and desire to be recognized for their efforts. In contrast Generation Y is stereotyped as being less concerned with being ‘focused’ and more concerned about finding ‘meaning’ in their work. Individuals of this generation tend to be optimistic about opportunities and possibilities, and are more motivated to establish identities beyond their careers, as opposed to being defined by them. While Baby Boomers typically prefer structure and conducting business face to face, Generation Y, -or Millennials- prefers quick, casual, social tinged meetings. Baby boomers place high importance on the quality of the workspace, while Generation Y’s top priority is simply that work be ‘engaging’. Additionally, while Baby Boomers are more likely to determine social status from workplace job titles, Generation Y is more likely to associate desirable positions with a diversity of responsibilities, flexibility in schedules and, as stated, discovering job fulfillment takes precedence over higher pay (2). Generation Y, despite being sometimes stereotyped as spoiled, impatient and entitled, is the most diverse and well-educated in history. They are likely to be goal oriented, enjoying collaboration and multitasking, and are comfortable embracing technology (3). Perhaps the greatest contrast between the two generational groups is simply their sense of perspective on how they spend their time. While the baby boomer generation was taught to