A recent Deloitte study examined what both attracts and keeps millennials in the workplace. It clearly showed that as a generation, their loyalty to employers is deteriorating like a sand castle facing an incoming tide. Money is certainly a gravitational force in recruiting, but it does not ensure retention. Though the study cited several factors that may inspire cohesion, but suggested millennial views of employers’ ethics and motivations are eroding as fast as their allegiance. Less than half believe that businesses behave ethically, which represents a more than 12-point drop in 2017 alone.
Can some of this attitude be attributed to a more robust economy? Let us face it, when you cannot find work, any work looks good; and as the old Hebrew proverb says, “A satisfied man tramples on honey, but to a starving man any bitter thing is sweet.” We could also throw into the mix 24-7 news broadcasts that tend to gravitate toward the negative, along with an entertainment colossus that seems to inspire cynicism as the only honest intellectual position. All true, but there is more than that.
Say You Want A Revolution
Could we be on the brink of a revolution? The late 18th century saw a revolution against an entitled aristocracy whose only merit was the luck of their birth. The 19th century saw a revolution brought on by what was seen as the dehumanizing impact of industrialization. The 20th saw it over the inequalities of race and gender.
The stakes today are equally high, if not higher. The workforce, which will soon shift from an average age of 55 to 35 along with the impact artificial superintelligence (ASI) will have on technological growth and society as a whole. Elon Musk has warned that AI is “our biggest existential threat.” Steven Hawking added, “Computers will overtake humans with AI at some point within the next 100 years. Our future is a race between the growing power of technology and the wisdom with which we use it.”
Unethical Is Unsustainable
For some time, my business partners, Jeff Piersall and Joseph Duda, and I have been looking at these trend lines and asking, “What can we do that adds the most value to the most people?” We believe it lies in sharing an understanding of ethical capitalism.
Though some feel the solution to unethical capitalism is something other than capitalism, we do not. As Churchill once said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of its blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of its miseries.” Capitalism has provided more housing, clothing, food, medical care and freedom than any other system. The problem is not capitalism, the problem is that anything that is unethical is ultimately unsustainable.
If you are building a family, an organization, a company or a community, a lack of ethics is a virus within the institution, a fault in its foundation that will eventually topple it.
One revolution all of us are witnessing is an entrepreneurial renaissance around the world. The key to unlocking its potential and a flourishing millennial workforce is Leadership Through Ethical Capitalism, which Jeff, Joseph and I are moving to devote all of our energy to communicate.
Soon, we will be bringing TrepTalks, a digital educational platform, to the market to help teach the why, what and how of business in an ethical capitalist way. Trep U will be a tool to teach in depth, at the individual level, how to become an ethical capitalist leader.
Please do not think we are abandoning any of the markets we are currently involved in; we are simply recalibrating and realigning to do more. ◆