Are millennials vastly different from those in the Gen X and Baby Boomer age groups in terms of work expectations? Is what drives them significantly different to what has motivated generations before them? More importantly, why is there so much attention on this generation than any other than has gone before it.
Answers to these questions are vital for the companies who wish to hire them, and with good reason: they’re the future of the workplace. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this generation of individuals will comprise approximately 75% of the workforce by the year 2030. Understanding how to captivate and entice them is the key to corporate survival moving into the next decade and beyond.
Opinions on this youthful crowd seem to vary between myth, folklore, disdain and pure awe. Widely differing views are available across the board. They’re seen as arrogant, overly confident, self-centered beings, but also highly enterprising, collaborative, voracious learners. They are agile problem solvers and moved to action by causes that affect their community and the world at large.
From my experience, what motivates this emerging workforce is not as different as the generations before them, but the way to communicate those attractive factors is entirely different:
They’re hyper-connected: Millennials have grown up in the digital world; smartphones, social media, the Internet, and access to information has made them technology savvy and eager to use it in all parts of their life. Being connected via texting, tweeting, IMs, and other means of social connection allows them to live in the stream of real-time information, and they expect the workplace to be the same. Companies that wish to attract these individuals need to embrace technology and real-time connection as a way of doing business to foster a real connection to the company.
They want to change the world: This age group wants to do rewarding work with purpose and impact. They’re acutely aware of what is happening across the globe on a real-time basis and react swiftly to causes, both local and international. Purpose and mission of this generation are inextricably linked to the work they seek. As much as they wish to be well compensated, they also want to feel some impact beyond profits. Culture is no longer a soft term; it’s the fabric of what makes this generation carefully consider their work environment before they commit to an enterprise. Be sure your corporation supports causes bigger than merely making money.
They’re intensely loyal: While they are not approaching any position as a job for life, they are also not constant job hoppers unless their expectations are not being met. From the lack of personal growth and development through lack of challenging work and work-life balance, the decision to depart a position for millennials is almost always about better opportunities. Companies that engage, challenge, stretch and recognize their talent are a lot more likely to keep it. Think of employing your workforce as a two-way relationship/partnership: you have to invest if you want it to thrive.
They wish to be inspired by leadership: Like every generation before them, they wish to work for the best. They wish to work with great leaders that mentor, coach, and inspire, but also with whom they feel a connection. Simply put, working with great people is energizing. Companies with great leaders are renowned for it, and it serves as a great talent magnet. Invest in your leadership and your ranks will grow.
They like being referred to by name, not a label: Lastly if companies want to appeal to this important sector of the workforce, stop calling them millennials and address them by name. There are 5,860, 000 Google hits that attest to the fact that they hate the label. Also, they like to share their viewpoint, so just speak to them.
The workplace is evolving every day. If you want to ensure you appeal to the workforce of tomorrow, make some changes today. By focusing on a few essentials, your brand can become very appealing to this segment of the workforce.