Over the past decade, a lot has been said and written about Millennials in the workforce. As you may have noted, not all have been complimentary when it comes to this generation’s attitudes and expectations of the workplace.
But most of the frustration is based on partial truths, stereotypes about younger workers, and Millennial mythology rather than fact. For example, NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway said: Millennials are “the most talented generation I’ve ever worked with. Hands down.”
With the dawn of the new age, your workforce is most likely full of Millennials. They’re tech-savvy, enthusiastic, and confident, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this hyper-connected generation will make up 75% of the US workforce by 2030.
Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials are well into adulthood, with the youngest being 23, the oldest around 38, and they’re nudging into leadership roles. According to a Forbes article by Heidi Lynne Kurter, Millennials are “shaking up the workforce and undoing everything baby boomers once knew.”
So it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest challenges for organizations today is how to adapt their environments, working practices, and cultures to fit the demands of the Millennial generation in the workplace.
Understanding Millennials in the workplace isn’t easy. Where baby boomers were settled and happy with working for a paycheck and being thanked for their contributions maybe once a year, Millennials are after something more. They want more job purpose, instant gratification, and organizational values that fit their viewpoints.
The big question many employers are currently asking is how to get Millennials to work? One of the big misconceptions about Millennials is that they desire ping-pong tables, free coffee, and after-work socials. What they really want is an environment where they can learn and thrive.
So what can you do to inspire, motivate and retain the best and brightest talent in the market? A good starting point would be to find out what Millennials’ expectations in the workplace are.
Let’s begin by looking at what is important to Millennials in the workplace.
1. Timely and regular feedback and recognition.
Millennials seek honest and in-the-moment feedback. Not only do they wish to receive it, they also expect to give it. In the modern workplace, feedback has become a two-way street.
2. A culture fit
3. Work-life balance.
The blurring lines and crossed boundaries between professional and personal time in the modern workplace mean that many Millennials seek employers who offer a true work-life balance, promote activities away from the workplace, and respect personal downtime.
4. Opportunities to learn and rise through the ranks.
Research from Docebo found that nearly half (48 percent) of the Millennials they asked would quit a job if it didn’t provide learning opportunities.
Millennials rank rapid career progression as one of the most important things about a position. They want their work to be challenging and aren’t afraid to take risks to secure new career opportunities.
5. Flexible working.
Cutting out daily commutes, having more family time, and feeling more productive while working from home are all reasons why Millennials want the option to work flexibly or remotely. A survey from Flexjobs reported that 78% of Millennials said they would be more loyal to an employer if they had flexible work options.
Now we know what’s important to Millennials in the workplace, what can you do to prevent the Millennials in your workforce from jumping ship?
Here are some tips on how to retain Millennials in the workplace:
1. Millennials want a coach – not a boss.
Instead of a taskmaster, Millennials want their managers to serve a more developmental and supportive role. The best “coaching leaders” are supportive, open, and good listeners. They give valuable feedback that’s effective and doesn’t generate defensiveness.
2. Support diversity.
As one of the most open-minded generations, Millennials want to work in an environment that promotes inclusivity and diversity. Research from Deloitte revealed that Millennials are likely to stay with an employer for five or more years if the senior management and workforce are diverse.
3. Improve internal communication in the workplace.
The way millennials communicate (tweeting, texting, liking, etc.) dramatically affects the workplace. They are used to constant communication and feedback on their mobiles and expect the same communication style in the workplace. In other words, the new normal is mobile!
4. Offer flexibility and remote work.
Millennials will always prefer remote and flexible employment options. They want to work from home or several remote locations and have flexible working hours, promoting a better work-life balance.
5. Support learning and development.
If you want to engage your Millennial workers and attract top talent, it’s essential to invest in an effective learning and development program that speaks to their desire to learn. In addition to teaching them hard skills, you can also invest in soft skill training to ensure optimal development.
6. Offer competitive salaries.
A lot has been said about money not being the most important factor for Millennials when choosing a new employer. Is it true, though? A study by Manpower Group revealed that 92% of Millennials said that money was their top priority when looking for a job.
But keep in mind, even though money may attract them, it might not be enough to keep them!
7. Support teamwork and share of voice.
In today’s educational world, most institutions support teamwork through group projects. Millennials are used to working together, collaborating, and sharing knowledge. In the workplace, they perform at their best when interacting with their colleagues and sharing new ideas.
8. Offer career growth opportunities.
This generation is driven by a job that helps cultivate, develop, and grow their skillset. As a result, millennials are more inclined to accept a job they don’t necessarily like if they believe it’ll allow them to enhance their skills.
One thing is for sure – the impact of Millennials on the workforce is profound. They are the new face of company management and changed the way business is conducted worldwide. As the business world navigates the 21st century, Millennials are at the helm.