By the year 2025, millennials are expected to account for 75% of the global workforce.
While Gen X (born 1961 to 1981) is known as the independent and entrepreneurial generation, millennials are a more collaborative group that thrives on mentorship, teamwork, and strong communication. This makes them a valuable asset to any business or organization.
The Pew Research Center defines millennials as individuals born between 1981 and 1996. As the first generation that grew up in the Internet age, they’re often known for being bold, tech-savvy, highly educated, and adaptive to change. Millennials are also risk-takers.
Unlike previous generations that often struggle with change, millennials are generally more able to accept novel things and ideas. They are also able to listen to diverse perspectives and work with other people easily.
Many millennial professionals report that they are thinking less about money, and more about jobs that closely align with their values, advocacies, and passions. They value company culture more than past generations.
A study by Fidelity Investments shows that millennials would be willing to give up $7,600 in salary every year in exchange for a career that offers more meaningful work, better work-life balance, healthier company culture, and excellent career development opportunities. This is a marked shift from older generations who are generally believed to consider salary as a top factor in employment choices.
Purpose over paycheck
Millennials are not afraid to leave a job when an employer fails to meet their needs – a fact that organizations are seeing play out in a very real way two years into the global pandemic. Where many baby boomers were once happy with working any 9-5 job that provided security for them and their family, millennials are after something more than a paycheck. They are looking for job purpose and organizational values that align seamlessly with their personal beliefs and values.
One of the challenges for companies today is figuring out how to transform processes, cultures, and environments to meet the needs and demands of this generation. To help you get started, we pulled together three things today’s employee looks for in a job.
- Flexible arrangements and remote work opportunities
Research shows that 40% of job candidates around the world believe that flexibility in schedules and work models are guiding their career decisions.
Flexibility means different things for different people. Some prefer compressed hours while others choose flextime arrangements, where the employee chooses when to start and end work as long as they fall within specific core hours.
For others, flexibility might mean avoiding the rush-hour commute and working entirely from home. Flexible remote working also results in a better work-life balance and reduces the risk of burnout among employees.
A desire for flexible work models is common among millennial professionals. In fact, a Bentley University study indicated that 77% of millennial workers believe flexible work hours would increase their productivity.
- Fast adoption of collaborative technologies
Millennials are first-generation digital natives. They grew up in the era of computers, digital devices, and the world of social media. According to the Pew Research Center, 86% of millennials say they use social media and more than 9 in 10 millennials own smartphones, compared with 90% of Gen Xers.
As a tech-dependent generation, millennials expect virtual tools and smart technologies to be readily available in the workplace. If companies aim to attract millennials to their teams, they must prove that they are forward-thinking by adopting devices that allow employees to be more efficient and productive.
Poor or slow technology can drive away top talent. This is a group that wants collaborative technologies that are fast, intuitive, and easy to use. Examples are instant communication tools, video conferencing platforms, and screen-sharing tech that help simplify project management and facilitate group work, both remote and in-office.
Collaborative virtual tools also help employees feel connected with clients, managers, and colleagues at any time and from anywhere.
By embracing innovation in the workplace, companies will have an easier time attracting and retaining high-performing talent. Digital adoption provides employees with the necessary tools and resources to achieve their goals and perform better.
- Personalized learning strategies
According to a study conducted by the venture capital firm, Accel Partners, and software firm, Qualtrics, sufficient training is the leading factor millennials consider when starting a new job.
Because they grew up surrounded by evolving technology and connectivity, this group approaches workplace challenges differently and thus, requires a unique learning approach. The challenge for companies is to transform employee training in a way that satisfies this generation’s desire for innovation and self-development.
Some tools that organizations are using to successfully leverage with the leaning needs and styles of this group include:
- E-learning tools like e-books, digital libraries, and online classrooms that allow employees to learn at their own pace and have quick access to the knowledge they need (some employers are even using AI and virtual reality (VR) to upskill workers in a safe and affordable manner);
- Gamification (using point systems, badges, avatars, and leaderboards) transforms training into more engaging, easier to understand, and more memorable experiences, and mimics the ways in which this group of employees consume content outside of work (a 2019 report by Nielsen showed that two in three millennials play video games every month; they also spend roughly six hours per week watching gaming video content).
- Microlearning – the exchange of knowledge in small, digestible components – is growing in popularity as employees look to take advantage of new learning in their increasingly busy lives. Courses are often broken down into sessions that last around 10 minutes long, on average.
Grow your millennial workforce
Reprinted with permission from Waterstone Human Capital