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Understand the Needs and Interest of Millennial Employees

Tuesday October 13th, 2015

Estimated time to read: 4 minutes

For several years now Gen Zers, aka Millennials (those born between the mid 1980s and early 2000s), have been dubbed “the worst generation.” They have been labeled with character traits such as lazy, needy, entitled, unwilling to work hard, and disrespectful.

These are some harsh accusations and are seriously generalized. Instead of judging the younger generation entering the workforce, some experts argue that it is time for older generations to start accepting and spending more time engaging these Millennials.

In fact, in the next five years a full 86 million Millennials will be in the workplace, representing a full 40% of the total working population. For this reason, Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group, says that it’s in every organization’s interest to learn how to attract, reach, and motivate Millennials.

That all sounds well and good, but how does an organization go about attracting and motivating this new, and admittedly confounding, generation?

Understand Millennials’ values

Desire to make a difference

Millennials like to see themselves as heroes. They don’t want to work 9-5 jobs that don’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. This generation is passionate about impacting people’s lives, improving and caring for our environment, and making the world a better place.

Many Millennials would prefer to be remembered for contributing something substantial and memorable to the world and the workplace, rather than to simply get rich from a job that doesn’t make an impact on a larger scale.

Collaboration over competition

Millennials are team-oriented. This generation was brought up with a cooperative learning style. They were taught to be a team-player and that every person on the team counts for something. For this reason, Millennials are comfortable working in teams and want to make friends in the workforce rather than participate in the cut-throat competitions that earlier generations participated in.

This generation believes that collaboration can accomplish more and create better end results. They have also grown up in a multicultural world which enables them to work with diverse team members.

Hunger for challenge and growth

Millennials love to be challenged. They are creative thinking, problem solving types. Challenges are sought and conquered by the people of this generation for the sole purpose of having overcome and becoming better and more qualified for the next challenge.

This challenge and growth isn’t about competing with others as much as it is competing against self, being the best that they can be. This comes from an innate desire to prove themselves and to earn credibility.

Committed to family, friends, and hobbies

Millennials place their family, friends, and hobbies high on their priority lists, often above work. This is not to say that they do not respect their co-workers and the work that they know must get done. Rather, would rather approach work with flexibility so as not to compromise time dedicated to family and friends.

Innovative ideas and freedom of choice

Millennials are free thinkers, they like to think outside the box. Many in this generation will balk at doing something just because it’s “the way we’ve always done it”. Tradition for the sake of tradition is not something that Millennials put a lot of stock in.

This generation loves to come up with new and better ways to do things, fix problems, make everything easier and more efficient. Their desire for freedom of choice and developing new ideas is not stemmed out of rebellion or laziness. Rather this generation desires to pave their own way and find methods that are unique, efficient, and work for them.

Attract the best of the Millennials

Millennials have a lot to offer businesses of all sizes. With their unhindered ideas, hunger for growth, and ability to be a team player, this generation has the potential to greatly impact the success for their employers.

So how do you, as an employer, attract and tap into the potential of the Millennial generation?

Let your Millennial employees know you recognize them

Millennials really live to make a difference. Let them know that you recognize all their hard work and see the difference that they make.

Older generations may put up with feeling unappreciated or like they don’t make a difference, but Millennials will not hesitate to move on to another employer who will help fill their need to make an impact.

Be the employer that gives your employees plenty of opportunities to live up to their potential, allowing them to suggest new ideas and take action for matters that important to them.

Encourage collaboration

Teamwork is important to Millennials. Make it clear to your Millennial employees that they are not alone and that they have a team to support them.

Create teams that are diverse in age, culture, and experience. Diverse teams are where many Millennials blossom. Being able to bounce ideas off each other, learn from each other, and work together provides the best environment for your Millennials to produce their best work and launch your business further into success.

Allowing your young employees to collaborate with your older, more experienced employees will be beneficial for everyone involved. This generation is very open to learning, and loves to pick the brains of anyone willing to share any nuggets of knowledge.

Challenge and Push

Millennials love a good challenge. Little makes a Millennial employee happier than to overcome a challenge and prove their worth.

Provide opportunities for your Millennial employees to take on more challenging tasks that will push them to grow and improve. You will likely be pleasantly surprised by what your Millennials can accomplish when given the opportunity.

Allow flexibility

Flexibility is often a big selling point for Millennials looking for employment. Family, friends, and hobbies are important to this generation. They are not nearly as willing to sacrifice them for work as generations before them were.

Allowing flexibility to get to the office late or leave early is much appreciated by Millennials. Many would even like the flexibility to be able to complete work away from the office. As much as some employers may fear that this kind of flexibility will hurt efficiency and productivity, many companies have proven that offering flexibility helps to unleash creativity, boosts morale, and all the work still gets done on time.

Expect innovative ideas

As stated before, Millennials love to make a difference, they thrive from it. They are not mindless robots that follow directions without thought or care. This generation wants to know why things are done a certain way, and if they don’t like it or don’t think it makes sense, they will come up with another way.

As an employee, don’t just allow your Millennial employees to express new ideas. Let your Millennials know that you expect them to voice their innovative ideas. By doing so, you are opening the lid to all of your young employees’ minds and potential.

When Millennials know that your business encourages and respects new ideas, they will be happy to commit to giving their full energy and helping your business thrive. ask mr robot wow

Wrapping it up

It may be easy to judge the Millennial generation as being lazy, high maintenance, and entitled, but at the end of the day, these aren’t really fair judgements.

At the end of the day don’t people of all generations want to be recognized, want to make a difference, have the flexibility to put family and friends first, be challenged, and have their ideas heard? Really one of the main differences between Millennials and other generations is that while older generations may accept that those desires will not be met in their employment, Millennials are not satisfied until those needs are met.

Generations in the past have accepted and adapted to the way that companies conduct business. Now is the time for businesses to accept and adapt to the new generation entering the workforce because (despite all their abilities to adapt) they are not willing to compromise in the areas they value most.