A Modern Workplace for More Millennials

A Modern Workplace for More Millennials

It’s graduation time, and we are witnessing the tail end of the millennial generation (depending on whose definition you adopt) complete college and enter the workforce. Regardless of the year you use to mark the end of this Gen Y cohort, millennials now comprise a greater portion of the workforce than any other generation, and their presence will continue to grow for a few more years. By 2025, they will make up 75% of all employees. If you want to recruit and retain a young and talented workforce, you need to ensure your workplace meets modern expectations.

Hopefully, as your workforce has evolved you have kept pace and made some changes to keep your employees happy and tap into their strengths. If you’ve resisted adapting to millennial needs, it’s time to reconsider. Look at your current workforce. Those who are under age 40 are considered millennials by most definitions. Certainly every individual is different, but those of similar ages have been shaped by the same big events and trends that lead to common perspective and values. And, as most Generation Xers and baby boomers in the workforce have observed, millennials are a different breed. Understanding their values may help you relate to these employees and create a work environment in which the majority of America’s workforce (i.e., millennials) will thrive.

6 Millennial Values and Workplace Adaptations

1.  Millennials are generally community-oriented and have a social conscience.  They want to work for a meaningful purpose (beyond financially supporting themselves). Companies that give back to the community and engage their employee through volunteer opportunities will be attractive to millennial workers.

2.  Millennials are team-oriented. If your workplace embraces collaboration and is organized into teams to solve problems, younger workers will be more comfortable than in environments where they feel they are competing with coworkers.

3. Millennials want to learn and advance quickly.  They are bred to be confident and feel they are special. Everyone deserves a trophy, right? Coming into the workplace as the low man on the totem pole can be tricky. On the up side, their confidence is often accompanied by a sense of optimism, which is a nice vibe to add to the workplace environment. Embracing their enthusiasm and desire to be involved and advance is a better strategy than dismissing them as arrogant egoists. Confident and special millennials will appreciate a “flatter” organization more than one with a steep hierarchy. Think “coach,” not “boss.” To keep them around, companies need to find opportunities for their young employees to develop and grow.

4. Millennials are technologically astute. Perhaps this is the most obvious or expected trait among a group that doesn’t really know or remember a world without the internet. Companies that embrace technology to enhance productivity and efficiency will appeal to millennials. Those that don’t will frustrate young workers. A presence on social media and an up-to-date website, including for the purpose of recruitment, are key as well.

5. Millennials value transparency. In the workplace, that means an open and honest relationship with their managers and coworkers. They want to be included and kept up to date on company plans and strategies, and to be clear about job expectations.  No surprises, please.

6. Millennials crave feedback. An annual review won’t cut it. They grew up in a technology-filled world of instantaneous feedback. They want to know how they’re doing so they can improve. The more you can engage with them, the better. Constructive feedback may also contribute to the learning and growth they desire.

It’s time to embrace millennials in the workforce. There are more than 75 million of them, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.