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Citizenship on the Rise | HR Predictions for 2018 from Josh Bersin | Part 2

February 21, 2018

Last month I kicked off a blog series discussing the predictions made by Josh Bersin during the January PSPS Quarterly Program titled "The New World of Work."  Today I will continue that discussion with one of the trends Bersin discussed during the event, citizenship on the rise.


Thinking back over the last year, we have seen a growing call for activism supporting social causes in this country and around our globe.  The connectedness of our society makes these social causes hit closer to home more often and also easier to join.  With the ease of a hashtag, you can start, join or support a movement:  #BlackLivesMatter, #NeverAgain, #GrabYourWallet, #HoustonStrong, #DeleteUber, #MeToo, #WomansMarch.  In a 2017 survey of over 8,000 millennials, Deloitte found that 76% of the millennials surveyed regard business as a force for positive social impact.  Of those surveyed, 80% are classified as "active citizens" and 89% are considered "super-connected millennials."  It is this combination of super-connected active citizens that are using social media to engage in social, environmental, and political affairs.  These individuals are "pro-business," but they believe in citizenship and expect more from organizations.

According to a 2017 survey of over 8,000 millennials, 76% regard business as a force for positive social impact. 

Citizenship is the view by an individual that they are a part of a larger community or society, and their actions and behaviors must reflect not only their interests but also consider and support the society they are a part of.  According to Bersin, 2018 will be a year where we see more employees demand this focus in their business.  He believes that employees not only want businesses to support employees engaging in citizenship behaviors, but that employees expect their corporations to act as citizens and engage in citizenship behaviors within the communities that they do business.


Bersin's predictions are right in line with the message BlackRock's CEO, Laurence Fink, delivered to business leaders from some of the largest publicly traded organizations last month.  BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager, and when they speak, public corporations must listen.  Fink's letter said, "Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose.  To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”  This is a powerful message when you consider that for so long investment management was solely about profits for shareholders.  When the CEO of the world's largest asset management company recognizes the "demand by society" for social contribution from business to be as important as profits for shareholders, change is certainly afoot.

"Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose.  To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

--Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock

Personally, I find this prediction by Bersin, of movement towards more socially responsible organizations, exciting!  I too, want my work to align with global social efforts to better our world.  This is one of the reasons I am so excited for the Villanova HRD Annual Networking Reception on April 11, 2018.  The theme of "Businesses Bettering the World: HR's Role in Corporate Social Responsibility" is very timely considering this prediction of citizenship on the rise.  Our keynote speaker, Grady Lee, CEO of Give2Get, will be sharing more about IMPACT 2030, the only private-sector led initiative with the United Nations aligning human capital investments to help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.  Check out this quick video about IMPACT 2030, and you will see why I am excited to hear Grady speak at our event:

To learn more about the Villanova HRD Annual Networking Reception, check out the event information here.  Registration is now open!  I hope to see you on April 11th!


Stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 of this blog series!

Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!


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