The Millennial Effect: Place Making & Purpose

Jun 18, 2018
Charity Nelson

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

This Orwell quote speaks to our desire to always stereotype the generational cohorts. Especially that one we can’t seem to get away from talking about. Are you sick of the M word yet? Sorry, it’s not going away any time soon. By sheer numbers, the largest and most researched generation in history is already a significant factor within workplaces and marketplaces. The Boise Metro has consistently seen an in-migration of this generation from across the nation – but how we learn from and respond to the way they choose careers and select communities deserves a fresh perspective.

Rather than treating millennials as an entity unto themselves, and potentially oversimplifying a large swath of people, we take a wider view. Visualize a pebble dropped in a pond. The pebble makes its own mark, but the bigger impact is from the ripples that spread across the pond. In the case of millennials, the attributes and desires we often credit them with can be seen across generations in what they prioritize within their communities and workspaces.

As new generations enter the workforce, we see an evolution of what drives their workplace decisions. Today, those priorities frequently fall to the two P’s – Purpose and Place Making. Millennials don’t solely own the increased value being put on purpose and place making, but they helped spark the rise in the conversation and the role both now play in talent decisions. Bottom line…is that the bottom line isn’t the only thing.

Purpose matters. Beyond values on a wall, talent is increasingly wanting to know about the soul of a company and its impact in the broader community. They want to feel that what they are doing matters. Understanding a company’s purpose, and knowing they can do purposeful work is paramount. With the world at their fingertips, these digital natives crave access, openness and authenticity. Companies that create environments that are transparent, engaging and providing learning opportunities are finding the most success in recruiting and retaining talent.

Place matters. While the Boise Metro is a strong contender for housing prices and commute times, those important elements only scratch the surface. Our economic development region spans two counties and nine cities – encompassing everything from an Air Force base to a robust agricultural region to the capitol city in the state’s largest urban center. Each of these diverse communities have their own unique personality and a sense of place that is grounded in the roots of the community, but evolving to meet the needs of dynamic and mobile professionals. Each is also focused on place making for all generations, influenced by factors we often credit to millennials – a desire for authenticity, diversity of experiences, ease and access, and work-life integration.

In assessing the Boise Metro and the companies that are growing here, can talent find careers with purpose and a place to put down roots to satisfy both work and life? I wholeheartedly say yes. Shepherding both companies and talent through the process of finding that perfect match with both place and purpose is what gets us out of bed each morning, and sends us to bed each night knowing we’ve made our own dent in the universe. Give me a call if you’d like to talk M’s, place making, purposeful work, or why you belong in the Boise Metro.