Millennials are a hot topic right now. Why? Well, they're now the largest generation in the workforce, making up one-third of employees, and are shaping the future of the workplace. They’re tech-savvy, innovative, and have ambitions and desires that some businesses may not be used to. When choosing their next role, millennials are looking for a few things in the workplace, and no, it’s not an office ping-pong table.
Millennials crave purpose. They want to know their self-purpose - how do I fit into this role? Is my work being noticed? How can I grow my career here? And they also desire a sense of purpose within the company - what is this company doing for the world? Are we really making a difference?
At most companies, senior-level management plays the role of the “decision-maker” while the lower level employees are responsible for making magic happen by executing on those decisions, but millennials crave a bit more than that. They want to do more than meet basic requirements, and need to understand what impact they have on the business. Feeling significant and knowing their value at a company is imperative.
So, how can you help millennials feel that sense of purpose that they're looking for? The best thing you can do is to be transparent. If millennials know their company’s mission and the impact that the business has on customers, they will show an incredible amount of passion and talent towards your business.
Truly invest time into understanding what your employees want out of their job. 80% of millennials said they would like to receive feedback in real-time and have more frequent check-ins to keep a pulse on their progress. If you can create shared value and a defined sense of purpose, millennials will stick around, because that’s something that truly matters to them.
2. Flexible Schedules
Forget the 9 to 5 – millennials just aren’t interested. We’ve said it before, non-desk working is on the rise and millennials want the choice to work flexible hours, with the option of working from home.
Today, technology dominates millennials’ lives. Almost everything can happen with the click of a button - they can order food, taxis and clothes, do their banking, speak with people across the world, book vacations, all in mere moments. Millennials tend to see their job in a similar way, and want more flexibility and balance when it comes to their workday.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that millennials are looking to work less, in fact, millennials are checking in on work while at home, commuting to work, or grabbing their morning coffee more than ever before. To a millennial, time does not equal money, they are just looking to work differently than traditionally expected – flex hours and even taking working vacations are becoming the norm. And, it turns out that most millennials would rather communicate electronically than face-to-face.
The reality is, our world is powered by technology and it’s really starting to shift the ways that we communicate in the workplace. Being flexible and adaptable to your employees’ schedules will make a big difference to them.
3. Open communication
The days of cubicle desks and annual reviews are over - millennials crave open communication and want to receive real-time feedback. To a millennial, it’s important to be able to reach out to their fellow employees and superiors when needed, whether that’s face-to-face or online.
In fact, open communication isn’t just something that millennials want, but most of your workforce probably wants. Think of it as the “open door policy” – your employees want to feel encouraged and comfortable enough to express themselves in an honest way, and they expect the same in return. Without recognition and some critical feedback, it’s really difficult to know how you’re doing or if what you’re doing is truly making an impact on the success of the business. If you can give millennials immediate and honest feedback, they'll be more focused and motivated to achieve great results.
So, how can you ensure you’re giving millennials what they need with communication? Annual reviews are valuable, but they need to happen more frequently than once a year. Checking in with your employees on a weekly or bi-weekly basis about their successes, their failures and their goals will help build employee loyalty. Also, if you're working in an office, having a more open floor plan will allow for quick and easy communication.
If you’re looking to win the war of millennial talent, then you should be developing a work environment where your employees feel a sense of purpose, have flexible schedules and are comfortable to communicate openly with their coworkers.