Millennials have been labeled (albeit perhaps unfairly) as a generation of spoiled, entitled, lazy workers with unrealistic expectations of the world around them. But is that really the case? Perhaps a better understanding of their worldview and the values they look for in their employers is all that’s needed to ensure long term success in employing them as part of a multigenerational workforce.
Understanding their core values better will enable employers to extract the benefits of the unique set of skills and perspectives they bring to work. And meeting these needs, in an economy that has not been very kind to them, will likely result in the loyal, engaged and enthusiastic company culture you desire. And more good news: sometimes it can even save money.
Here are five values millennials look for in potential employers:
Millennials want the flexibility to work outside of the office, either full-time or at least some of the time. As digital natives, it makes sense that they see no reason to be locked in a cubicle Monday through Friday, 9 am until 5 pm. And because they do not tend to separate work and life as much as generations prior, they want the flexibility to do work when they choose to as well.
Companies successful at retaining millennials grant flexibility, at least in some degree, in both time and location for getting work done. Aside from a higher retention rate, another upside for employers is that with remote workers and flexible hours, companies tend to save big in real estate overhead for brick and mortar office space.
- Positive Impact
Millennials want to find meaning in the work they do. They want to have a positive impact on the world around them and make a contribution to something greater than themselves. In fact, over half of millennials say they’d take a 15% pay cut in order to do work aligned with their values. They want to do work that makes a positive impact. And they want to believe their companies and employers share their values.
- Development Opportunities
Millennials want to be coached, not micromanaged, and they want to see some sort of future for themselves within the organization. They love to learn new things, and grow in their responsibilities. They value constructive criticism and feedback and want to feel that they’re being supported in their professional growth. Gone are the days of lifetime employment and security at any one company, and they know it. The only way to cultivate loyalty and reap the benefits of long-term yield is to invest in their development professionally. Provide them with a sense mentorship and growth, because if they feel they’re being invested in, they’ll counter that investment with loyalty and engagement.
- A Chance to Work With Talented People
Millennials view competition as a healthy part of the workplace. They want to be surrounded by people who push them to be the best version of themselves. They want their colleagues to be experts and work as hard as they do. Most millennials believe their colleagues should help them raise their owns standards and grow professionally. They believe that their teams should enable their best work.
- Salary and Benefits
As mentioned previously, millennials have been deeply impacted by the recession despite being a highly educated group of people. Many have seen family members lose jobs, homes, and face intense financial stress and uncertainty for the future. They’ve also been the first generation to look for their first jobs in a post-recession economy. Many are underemployed, if employed at all, some have given up the job search entirely and still live at home, and others face staggering amounts of student loan debt. Unsurprisingly, many millennials state money and benefits as the biggest incentive. When many of them are doing freelance or contract work, competitive salaries and full employee benefits (or any benefits at all) garner a sense of loyalty and a higher retention rate of millennials.
Millennials have now surpassed the baby boomers as the largest generation, at about 75 million people. And as their life expectancy currently predicts they’ll work many more years than generations before them, employers would do well to get to know and embrace them. Those employers who take the time to understand what they value in their workplace, and provide it, will not only earn their engagement, loyalty and enthusiasm, but will also reap the unique benefits that this diverse and talented demographic has to offer.