What Do Millennial Employees Want, Exactly?
Compare what a millennial employee wants with what older generations of workers want, and there really isn’t that much difference. We’ve been hearing for years that employers have to cater to this generation of workers who want to have it all and do nothing for it, but nothing is further from the truth.
Millennial workers don’t all feel the need to freelance and live and work remotely. Instead, they want more flexibility in their schedules and in where they work. For example, an organization that offers them the ability to telecommute a few days a week and that provides them with the chance to clock in and out around a flexible schedule as long as their work is done well and on time is more likely to attract and keep talented employees.
Millennials don’t all want to sit on their couches or never work. They just seek the chance to be present at their kids’ recitals without feeling awful about leaving work 30 minutes early.
Additionally, they want time off of work to be able to really enjoy a vacation, pursue their hobbies, attend university, take care of a sick loved one, take care of their physical health, and take a personal day off of work without fear that they have used up all of their one-week-a-year and three-sick-days-per-annum allotment of time off.
The career of a millennial is more often than not, an extension of their current lifestyle, so they want the features and benefits of their at-home life within their workspace as well.
A Mission Statement They Feel Strongly About
When an organization tries to improve the world, Millennials (both employees and customers) get excited. “Companies that engage their staff with community outreach opportunities have lower turnover and more satisfied employees. . .Employers that provide opportunities to be involved with good causes at the local level give millennials with [sic] kind of satisfaction that comes with making an impact,” according to Forbes.com.
Workplaces that offer Millennial employees the chance to diversify their skillset, provide ongoing training and tuition reimbursement or scholarships, offer mentorship programs and evaluation programs with regular and supportive feedback, and assistance with gaining new contacts in the organization and industry are likely going to keep those employees for a long time.
Millennials are disenchanted with corporate culture with depersonalized interactions among workers and with the organization as a whole. They want to know that a company is really going to invest in them. When that happens, they are more likely to invest their professional futures in that company.
Consider a mentorship program for Millennials, for example. The Millennial thrives on feedback, and employees of older generations can learn just as much from the younger employees. Pairing up a Baby-Boomer with a Millennial and assigning them as a team to come up with a solution or new approach to “the way we have always done it” could yield great results.
Millennials want to have the freedom to act in their professional roles without the fear of their supervisor telling them that they did some small part of it wrong. They want to know that they have the latitude to make decisions without feeling like they have to seek someone’s approval first.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
Millennial employees and applicants are all over social media. That is where you will find them, and that is where you need to engage with them. With a strong online and social media presence, you can attract the right employees and even boost your sales by connecting with your potential clients on a more personal level (by communicating with them via reviews, comments on ads, blog posts, offering personalized and helpful chat support on your website, etc.)
Encourage your Millennial workers to engage with people in other departments and to work on projects cross-departmentally. Additionally, help your employees increase their skill sets by offering mentoring programs across departments and through cross-training events and opportunities. When employees of any age see that their work impacts the entire organization in a positive way, their engagement with the organization increases.
Millennials grew up with technology which has created a culture seeking transparency. Through company reviews left on job boards by former and current employees, to news articles about them, as well as through other outlets, today’s employees can learn a lot about their organization.
It’s best that a company become as transparent as possible with their employees because they expect it today. An organization that is upfront gives its employees a clearer view of the direction of the company and a reason to stick around.
Millennials are a new generation, and it’s important to understand what they care about, but they are not here to completely upend corporate culture as we know it in a bad way. An organization that embraces the new wants and needs of their employees is more likely to have higher employee retention and satisfaction rates than those that don’t.