I am a millennial. Born just before the dawn of the nineties, I sit smack bang in the middle of what was once known as generation Y. I see avocado as a staple of any diet, am a self-confessed Instagram addict and I am ashamed to admit that, I am used to having everything and anything at my fingertips.
My generation has been scrutinised, criticised and congratulated more than any before them. They have been dubbed the most entitled and self-absorbed in human history but as a millennial, I can’t help but feel that it isn’t all bad. Research has shown that millennials have traits that can be great for business. They are thought to be the most innovative in the work place and rather than accept that things are the way they are, they want to shape the culture of the company to fit with their values. Yes, you could view this as demanding and difficult to manage, but you could also see this as an opportunity for change and change can be for the better.
What’s more, studies have shown that millennials are motivated, in part by money (likely due to the costs now associated with attending university) but also to make bigger, more profound changes to society and the world that we live in.
Love them or loathe them, millennials now make up a larger percentage of the workforce than any other generation and in the coming years, this number is only likely to rise. If companies want to continue to attract the best talent then they will have to adapt and find new ways to ensure that the needs and desires of this youthful generation are being met. Here is just a few things that my generation regard as the most important when looking for a new job:
- Flexibility – The 9-5 life just isn’t for us! Instead millennials are thought to look for an employer who promotes flexible working and offers opportunities such as working from home or remote working. Research suggests that employers who positively encourage flexibility find that their employees are more productive in the workplace and likely to remain loyal to the same company for a number of years.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) – We care. We really care. Not just about our personal successes but about the bigger picture. Millennials want to work for a company that has a deeper sense of purpose and can demonstrate what they are doing to make the world a better place. The benefits for an employer of undertaking some form of CSR should not be underestimated. Millennials are desperate to share every part of their daily life with the world through social media and, as such, employers will reap the rewards of this additional avenue of positive reputation building.
- Culture – As the baby boomers like to tell us, things aren’t like they used to be! And they are right, they really aren’t. No longer is going to work just about getting paid. More than any generation that has come before, millenials care about the culture of their workplace, they seek to form close personal bonds with fellow employees and one of their main priorities in finding a new job is that they want to enjoy going to work.
- Diversity – Millenials are the most diverse generation so far. That linked with an interest and enthusiasm for political discussion means that millennials want to work for an employer that promotes diversity, not only in their policies but in practice.
As millennials become a force to be reckoned with in business, it now falls to the current leaders to do what they can to ensure that not only do they attract the best talent but that their current workforce remain motivated and that they are able to retain this talent going forward. After all, it will be these millennials that will increasingly take up the helm over the next few years. Millennials are more interested than any other generation before them in becoming the next leaders and I don’t know an organisation anywhere that isn’t keen on building a stronger calibre of leaders, ready to take on new challenges.
But, if you really do think millennials are changing things for the worse, don’t panic! No generation ever stays in power long enough to do irreversible damage. Before we all know it, generation Z will be the ones shaping the work place.