Millennials: what do they want?

Employers are facing a new challenge in the workplace: there’s a whole new breed of employee that has begun to enter the workforce. And they have different needs and require more attention; in short they want it all and they want it now.

There were Baby Boomers, then Generation X, and now there’s the Millennials (sometimes known as Generation Y). These individuals, in their 20s to early 30s, are very different from employees from previous generations. For Millennials it’s not enough to pay them; they want a great culture and benefits, and to know they are making a contribution and to progress.

Great culture
Millennials want to be a part of the workplace culture, and they want that culture to foster an environment with an emphasis on teamwork and community. PwC found in their Global Generational Study that Millennials place more emphasis on their social needs like team cohesion, support and appreciation from their supervisors. Support and appreciation may sound like providing good benefits, but that’s not enough on its own. Millennials want to communicate; surprisingly not via social media and email, but face to face – they want to feel connected to their employer personally and to the business. In fact, the same study found that 95% of non-Millennial employees want face-to-face communication as well. Promoting open discussion between all levels of the business fosters a culture of everyone working together towards the same goals, which will make your business stronger.

Work-life balance
The same study from PwC also found that Millennials value work-life balance, so employers need to get on board with supporting them in their lives outside of work as well as inside. In fact, work life balance is so important that many Millennials were unwilling to commit to making work their priority. Employees come to work to earn a living, some might enjoy it, but they earn money to be able to live their lives. Their lives outside of work are just as important, if not more so, and employers need to understand that. Providing support outside of work does mean providing great benefits, but it also means other kinds of support as well: health programmes; Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs); education; and development opportunities.

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Professionals, a white paper by Robert Walters, found that 91% of Millennials want rapid career progression, and the way to help them do that is provide learning and development opportunities. However, the same study found that 53% of Millennials were disappointed by a lack of personal development training when starting a new job. If employers support young employees with development opportunities that allow them to grow professionally, then those employees are more likely to feel appreciated and to remain with an employer who is helping them to progress.

A misconception about Millennials is that they are disloyal; flitting from job to job and not staying anywhere for more than a few years. In fact, they are not disloyal; they just want to be treated well. Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey found that if Millennials were in charge, they would place much more emphasis on employee wellbeing, growth and development. Millennials won’t hesitate to leave a company if they feel they aren’t getting the support they want and need, and that is why employers need to do more to retain their young employees.

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If employers don’t provide support and make Millennials feel loved, they are going to leave. Employers invest a lot in young employees to mould them into future leaders, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to ensure they are fully supported.

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