Soon enough, Millennials will be the largest generation in the entire United States workforce. Yes, that’s right, there will be more Millennials working than any other generation. On the surface, that might seem insignificant. It might not seem like you need to change the way your business operates to entice the Millennial generation. But in fact, if you don’t undergo some changes to make your company more appealing and beneficial for the Millennial generation, you’ll be doing your organization a massive disservice.
Unfortunately, Millennials have received a bad rap as being lazy and, in many cases, entitled. But this is a stigma, an untrue stereotype, and if you believe it, you’re missing out on honing an entire pool of excellent workers. You see, Millennials are the generation that lived through the times when the internet was still dial-up and faxes were the height of technology, all the way through the rise of the iPhone to where we are today. They span across two completely different eras. Unlike their older counterparts, they’ve grown up familiar enough with technology to easily feel comfortable and incorporate it into their day-to-day lives. But unlike Generation Z, they also grew up with some older values, particularly regarding the ways in which they work.
Millennial’s desire something entirely different out of their work environment than other generations. Studies show that more Millennials place an emphasis on work that brings them value and fulfillment rather than a job that’s going to make them rich. They also understand the importance of a work/life balance, while simultaneously not benefitting from the economy that afforded their grandparents and parents access to cheaper education and housing prices. If you can tailor the way your company functions to entice Millennials, you could benefit from a much stronger, more adaptable, and more forward-thinking workforce. But how do you do it?
Understanding Your Millennial Workforce
Contrary to popular belief, Millennials don’t want shorter workdays, free coffee fountains in the break room, and bean bag chairs in the office. What they seek is actually something far, far deeper. More Millennials want to connect on a deeper, more resonating level with the mission and values of the companies they work for. Strong core values that align with their own are a primary priority for the Millennial workforce. This is a double-edged sword, because in many cases if they don’t feel connected with a company, they’re likely to be less productive than other employees. That being said, once that deep connection and meaning are fostered, they’ll probably be some of your best workers.
Start by identifying the Millennials in your workplace. Of course, don’t do this by going around asking all your employees what year they were born. Rather, just have a general understanding of who your Millennial workforce is and what makes them tick.
Sometimes known as Generation Y, Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996. The term Millennial comes from the fact that those who fall into this demographic were the first to come of age during the new Millennium. There are some facts you should understand about Millennials that will help you feel more connected to your workforce. They are, on large, better educated than their older counterparts, with 39% having at least a bachelor’s degree. They also tend to be much more inclusive of racial and ethnic diversity, as well as playing key roles in shifting the gender paradigm. So, overall, Millennials have some traits that, if honed, can be hugely beneficial to a forward-thinking, productive, and growing organization.
What do Millennials Look for in A Company?
Once you understand more about your Millennial workforce, it’s time to do a deep dive into what drives them so you can make your company more enticing to the Millennial generation.
A Livable Wage
Of course, it can be assumed that everyone hopes to earn a livable wage. But for Millennials, the milestones that determine that wage are very different than they were decades ago when everything was easier to afford. Surprisingly, most Millennials no longer base what they consider to be a loveable wage on whether they will be able to afford to buy their own house. Rather, they just want to be able to live comfortably, which isn’t an unfair expectation in the slightest.
Diversity and Inclusivity in the Workplace
As we mentioned earlier, Millennials have been key in paving the way to more diversity and inclusivity in society in general. This extends to the workplace, where Millennials will most likely have no tolerance for an environment or company that doesn’t promote equality for all and embrace diversity.
A Flexible Work Environment
The more flexible a work environment you can offer your employees, the better for the Millennial generation. Most who fall into this age group are largely enticed by offerings such as the ability to work remotely, fair paid time off, and work hours that allow them a more adaptable schedule. This is largely due to how much emphasis Millennials put on a good work/life balance. They mostly aren’t content working a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, every day for 50 years of their life. In fact, Millennials will likely quit higher-paying jobs with less flexibility and fulfillment in favor of a lower wage that enables them a better work/life balance.
A Sense of Purpose
We drilled this one home already, but let’s say it again. Millennials love working for companies that provide them with a sense of purpose. Finding a job that allows them to feel fulfilled, with a company that aligns with their values, is a home run. If you want to entice a Millennial workforce, having mission statements and strong core values in your company is key. But you also need to help your Millennial workforce align their own ideals with your organization’s mission and vision, otherwise, it’s just empty words.
The Millennial Generation will soon be the largest workforce, so you need to ensure that what your company offers aligns with what they’re looking for. It might require a little bit of a paradigm shift, particularly for older businesses. But if you’re able to entice Millennials and ensure they’re satisfied with their jobs, they may well be your most productive and high-achieving employees.