2016 is by no means over, but it is certainly over the hill. And as the days grow shorter and colder, I can’t help but start to reflect on what 2016 has meant for me. First and foremost, 2016 has been a year of monumental change. At 22 years old, I graduated college and officially entered into the “real world.” I became a working adult with a salary and benefits and coworkers, got my first apartment, started paying bills, and even opened a savings account. And I’m learning to embrace it. I feel very fortunate to have a job right out of college, and I feel ready to make a difference with my work. But most importantly, what I’ve found is that I am not alone in this feeling. Other millennials like me are ready to work hard, make a difference and gain new skills. We’re ready to join the workforce, but upon entering the workforce, we start to wonder-- is the workforce ready for us?
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the various stereotypes about millennials: we expect to be babied, we’re given trophies for merely participating and, we do not understand the meaning of hard work but, expect to run the company within the first two days. But I’m here to tell you that those stereotypes belie another view of millennials; an understanding that millennials are innovative, compassionate, and strive to have their work reflect that.
According to the Atlantic millennials are expected to make up as much as 75 percent of the American workforce by the year 2025. As millennials dominate the workforce companies are recognizing that this generation possesses the skills companies need to thrive today. Not only are millennials the most educated generation yet, but they have also been dubbed the most creative and adaptable generation. With our knowledge on social media and technology, millennials are the best equipped employees to handle the newest modes of communication.
As your company works to attract and retain millennial workers consider these four millennial values and why they should matter to you.
Face it, millennials communicate differently than the previous generations. At any given time, you can find them on the internet and using social media. 67% get their news from trusted websites such as The New York Times or CNN and 61% rely on links friends share with them. And when it comes to keeping in touch, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and SnapChat are their communication modes of choice. While this may frighten some businesses, reaching out to millennials via their platforms is not only important but a necessity. If you want to draw millennials into your business, you need to adopt and embrace the latest technology. Does your business have a fresh updated website? Do you regularly post on Instagram and Twitter? Are you using hashtags at your events? After all, the only way to get tech savvy employees is to be tech savvy yourself.
Another way millennials stand out from their counterparts is that they think workplace environments matter. Did you know that millennials would be willing to sacrifice salary to guarantee a good work environment? On the other hand, baby boomers have historically been willing to trade happiness and balance for a larger paycheck.
Millennials are moving away from typical office culture, and they crave flexibility and freedom. Create more adaptable office environments, and you will have greater employee engagement and better business results. If you want to truly empower millennials in the office space, look towards different office models. Co-working, or the shared office space, has become an increasing trend among younger professionals. Millennials want to be able to work at convenient times in enjoyable atmospheres, and they thrive off collaboration. So, rather than design your office space to embrace a hierarchical structure and the traditional 9-5, try to incorporate a workspace that is flexible in order to keep millennials engaged.
Millennials want to give back, whether it’s it to the environment, society, or humanity. The Intelligence Group’s studies of millennials found that 64% of them say making the world a better place is a priority for them. Young professionals want to know that their work is somehow making a difference and promoting good. Having a part of your company focus on a social good will keep your millennial employees engaged and interested.
Not sure how you can do this? Many companies have started to implement Volunteer Time Off (VTO) policies. Basically, these companies are providing their employees a certain number of hours per year to volunteer in their communities. Not only do these policies reflect well on the company, but also attract and retain ambitious and committed workers.
Think about how you and your company can include social responsibility in your mission.
Millennials want to learn, and they want to be collaboratively coached. Thus, companies need to empower their millennial workers. You could start by offering co-leadership opportunities. Give your younger workers a project that is important to them and let them work with someone with more experience. Millennials want to feel valued in their workspaces and want projects that teach them new skills and challenge them. And they want feedback on these projects. Studies found that they do better with regular evaluations and check-ins. While it might seem like more work, once you spend the time to leverage their willingness to learn, they might just surprise you!