Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born between 1982 and 2004. There are currently 80 million of these tech-savvy “creatives” on the planet, and they will account for half of the workforce by the year 2020.
This generation is unlike previous generations. Millennials made their mark with many firsts. For example, they were the first generation to type all of their school papers on a computer; to have cell phones in high school; to communicate primarily through instant message (IM) and text; and, of course, they were the pioneers of social media. These cultural and economic experiences have shaped this generation’s attitudes and expectations about work. Organizations looking to this up-and-coming generation for leaders may want to take note of what makes Millennials unique.
Millennials in the workplace
Millennials, known for their enthusiasm, collaborative nature and adaptability, have some unique recruitment and retention needs. To become a Millennial-friendly workplace, check out these simple tips.
- Seek to understand: Teams that include multiple generations can work wonders, but they’re also bound to feel tensions from time to time. Seek to provide team members with a better understanding of each generation, their collective viewpoints and differences, and how they can best work well together. Help spur the conversation with simple icebreaker questions, such as “What was your first job?” or “What’s your fondest high school memory?”
- Provide regular feedback: Remember, Millennials were the first generation to experience the “everything now” culture created by the Internet. This need for instant access carries into the workplace as well. Annual reviews and yearly raises don’t cut it for the Millennial. Weekly touch-base meetings, monthly reviews and micro-raises over the course of a year are a much better fit for this generation’s need for constant feedback. And don’t forget the value of recognizing a job well done. Even a text message—accompanied by a simple reward, such as a Cell Phone Back Strap or a coffee mug—can be a nice way to show Millennials their work is noticed and appreciated.
- Chart the course: Millennials are go-getters. They want to make things happen and see immediate results. Providing clear goals and expectations, short-term career maps and salary projections will help this group know what is expected of them and how to get there. Your touch-base meetings and reviews are the perfect time to go over these plans and celebrate milestones. A power bank, Bluetooth® speaker or wireless headphones can be a great reward for achieving goals.
- Provide Millennial-minded motivation: Millennials don’t always connect with the traditional corporate perks and “bennies.” Flexibility, creative freedom and a healthy work-life balance is the best way to hook a Millennial.
- Champion growth: This generation values the opportunity for personal growth. To satisfy this need, organizations should offer training, mentors and opportunities to lead. Millennials are also charitable by nature. Show them the love by providing these social-change agents the opportunity to serve.
- Offer flexibility: Millennials value flexibility. Although clear direction and deadlines are a must, a strict schedule is not. Provide your direction and set them free to work when and where they want to.
Being a Millennial-friendly workplace can be beneficial for all. For more information on keeping this generation challenged and motivated at work, check out our Blue Paper.
Feldmann, Derrik. “Inspiring the Next Generation Workforce.” (n.d.): n. pag. The Millennial Impact Report. The Case Foundation and Achieve, 2014. Web. Retrieved 01 Dec. 2014.
“The Millennial Impact Report 2012.” The Millennial Impact Report. Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle & Associates, 2012. Web. Retrieved 22 Dec. 2014.
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