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8 things millennials want in a workplace

8 things millennials want in a workplace

Posted on March 02, 2017

You’re aware of the trend. You don’t need to be told that people no longer stay in the same job for the entirety of their careers. But you might be surprised at just how extreme the deviation from the days of yore has become.

According to Forbes the average millennials (also known as Gen Y) - that is someone who was born somewhere between 1982 and 2000 - stays in the same job for just two years. And a recent survey conducted by Gallup shows that 21% of US millennials have changed their job in the last twelve months. 71% don’t feel engaged with their current job.

And that’s the key: engagement. Engaged staff are way less likely to leave. So as baby boomers retire and the proportion of millennials in the workplace swells to a majority, it’s important to know what they tend to look for in an workplace.

1. Personal development and growth

Millennials are ambitious. They want to learn. They want to progress. They want to sashay up the career ladder tout-suite. What they don’t want is to feel like they are stagnating in a dead-end role that’s going nowhere fast. As an employer your challenge is to present clear opportunities for progression. It’s more important than ever.

2. Training (yes, really)

To repeat: millennials want to learn. While announcing training to your team used to be met with disapproving sighs and derisory grumbles, it’s a must for the millennial’s workplace. They want to enhance their skills - both to get better at their current job, but also to progress and take on more responsibility in the near-future.  

3. A sense of worth

Millennials want to connect with their work on an emotional level. They want to feel that what they do has meaning and value. Rather than feeling like a silent cog in a large machine, they want reassurance that what they do has impact and makes a difference. 

4. Belief in your product or service  

Similarly, millennials want to be able to identify with the product or service that your business sells. To attract top talent you may need to show the difference that your business is making to people’s lives, the low impact you are having on the environment and so on. Give millennial employees a reason to belief; a cause to unite behind.

5. A mentor, not a manager

Nobody wants a manager that barks out orders but never listens. Least of all millennials. For them, your role is more mentor than manager. They seek your guidance, support and regular feedback. An annual review is not enough.

6. A brag-worthy benefits package

Interestingly, millennials are far less motivated by cold hard lucre than baby boomers and Gen X staff. But they can be won over by eye-catching benefits packages and flexible working. Speaking of which...

>> How to create a competitive benefits package - on a budget

7. Opportunities for flexible working

Autonomy and flexibility: two watchwords for millennials. They want the freedom to choose their own working hours (within reason) as well as the opportunity to work remotely. According to a survey by Upwork (née Elance-oDesk) 41% of British millennials look for flexible working conditions in an workplace.

8. An energetic workplace culture

Lots of articles will tell you that a youthful, energetic, creative culture in the workplace is important to millennials. Yet the free beer, Yoga Thursdays and office ping-pong may be less important than you thought, according to Harvard Business Review. Sure, culture matters. But growth and career progression take precedence.

Over to you

Take a breath. Remember that you are not being held to ransom by millennials. You are the employer, you run your business on your terms. But if you want to attract and retain top talent in your vertical, it’s worth being aware of what millennials look for in employers. And if you need some effective assistance, ask us.

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>> How to hire in a candidate-focused market >> How to choose between two great candidates - in 8 steps >> 7 tips to make new staff feel properly welcome