There’s been endless debate about what in the world this demographic wants — and one too many think pieces about what they don’t. So, we went back to the data. Here’s what we found.
Who are they? What do they want??
What you already know
Millennials are a fluid talent base. LinkedIn Workforce analytics suggest they average 4 jobs by the age of 32. At any given time, more than half of the talent pool is actively looking for a new role. And many succeed — one-third of the workforce turns over every 3 years (Gallup 2017 State of the Workforce Report).
What you need to know
Millennials follow the money growth and development opportunities. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Workforce Report, millennials are 150% more likely than their parents to choose and stay at a job that accelerates professional growth and development. That’s a lot of percents.
In fact, millennials care more about development opportunities and flexible scheduling than health insurance.
The brain is the most important organ, after all
But that’s just the beginning. Based on Gallup research and our own company-wide culture surveys, we created a list of the top five things you’ll need to build a millennial-friendly workplace. [Note: Avocado toast is not one of them.]
1. Development opportunities
Millennials are on a quest to constantly get better. It’s in your best interest to make this happen. Start with EQ training (like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test), structured coaching opportunities (with mentors who genuinely care), and accessible role models (think “lunch and learns” with higher-ups). Bottom line: give millennials what they need to sharpen their job-related skills. Then go above and beyond to help them become better communicators, listeners, presenters, and all-around empaths.
When the company you’re interviewing with doesn’t mention any L&D opportunities
2. Career accelerator programs
Think of this as development opportunities 2.0. Remember those turnover stats we spat at you? Well, the best way to cut them down is to make people stay longer than they’d planned. At RV, we’ve created a way for our employees to experience entire career shifts within our organization. Through structured “accelerator programs,” analysts can become data scientists, copywriters can become designers, sales agents can become engineers, and so on. Opportunities like these are incredibly compelling for candidates who fear getting stuck in a single role.
Aretha said it best, long before any of these people were born. Millennials seek out environments where they feel valued, empowered, and respected (just a little bit). On the whole, members of this generation want to feel like valued team members doing valuable work. But don’t mistake affirmations for ego-stroking. These kids grew up in a world of instantaneous information, and their social networks run deep. They’ve seen a lot. They know when they’re being treated unfairly or when their hard work goes unappreciated. More importantly, they know they don’t need to stand for it.
4. Flexible schedules
When asked what motivates them to stay at a company, our millennial new hires consistently listed “work-life balance” and “personal well-being.” (A lot to ask for, right?) This generation wants the time and energy to do what they love in the office and outside of work. That includes side-hustling, volunteering, Netflix binging, and spending time with the people they care about. Whether it’s untracked vacation or opportunities to work remotely, flex time goes a long way in terms of keeping great talent. (Bonus: it helps with the whole “respect” thing we mentioned earlier, too.)
A TON of it. Since pre-school, this generation has been ranked, rated, and evaluated. (Thanks, standardized testing.) That means millennials expect open communication about what they’re doing well and where they can improve. Performance reviews do exactly that — and they help set expectations. New employees (especially new graduates) may feel like they’re sinking without a clear sense of where they stand.
Best Annual Review ever!
6. Company culture
You don’t have to be Google to have a world-class company culture. An innovative workspace is a major plus, but so are the intangibles: open communication, invested mentors, and structure in the midst of shake-ups (like role shifts and compensation changes). Most importantly, millennials need to know that their companies care about them. So, support causes that your employees are passionate about and hold events that make younger workers feel like part of the team.
Millennials are different from past generations, sure. But they’re not a mystery. Give them what they need to grow, and they’ll give their all along the way. (Basement bowling alleys aren’t required, but they always seem to help.)
Want to learn even more? Check out Gallup’s 2017 State of US Workforce Report and the 2017 LinkedIn Workforce Analytics. That’s what we did.