Millennials: What They Want and Why You Should Give It to Them
There’s a cliché that says millennials are called Generation Y because they constantly ask “Y”: “Y should I work 9-to-5?”; “Y shouldn’t I be able to work from home?”; “Y should I have to climb a corporate ladder just because my parents did?”
The fact is that millennials are already getting what they asked for – and more, as managers worldwide are not merely “giving in” to their demands, but joining them in demanding the same work-enhancing benefits for themselves.
Millennials: why you can’t ignore them
There are currently about 80 million of them in the United States alone. By 2025, they will become 75% of the global workforce. Your ability to attract, develop and retain these future leaders can either make or break your company.
Sure, millennials have flaws. But so do you. And so does everyone else. Millennials have been labeled arrogant, shallow, and selfish. But that’s a common misconception: Lindsey Graff, a Marketing Consultant, blogger, and genuine millennial, says “Millennials aren’t lazy, spoiled, or entitled. Sure, we’re known for taking selfies, instagramming food pics, and questioning norms, but when harnessed correctly, millennials can be a powerful force for growth in any organization”.
Give them mentors, not just managers
Dan Schawbel, founder of WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for HR professionals, says “Millennials are tech savvy, diverse, connected, and are activists for personal rights such as gay marriage and healthcare. While some consider them narcissistic and entitled, the reality is that they want to make a difference, have a positive effect on our lives and push business forward, not back. Millennials are having a positive impact on our culture, workplace and government and we should recognize them for their efforts and support them so they are able to help revive the economy and build a better world”.
They know they’re not yet ready for leadership, but they want to be trained to lead. The difficulty is getting employers to recognize their talents, understand their value, and be willing to adapt their old-school workplaces for them.
“Millennials require your help and support in order to make the world a better place. Mentor them, give them loans, hire them and most of all, treat them with respect. You were their age once and you know how complicated and tough life can be. Show them the way and who knows, you might just benefit as a result!” enthuses Schawbel.
If you build it right, they will come
The first “digitally native” generation, millennials switch from smartphones to tablets to laptops at the speed of a tweet. And they want their work environment to be just as connected as they are.
So include them in your company’s technology conversation. And make flexible attitudes part of the deal: millennials get more done when they’re free from conventional work hours, commuting, and even the skirt or suit” dress code. After all, a tie never made anyone more productive.
Millennials want their careers to move fast too. They’ll leave a company in a heartbeat if they feel excluded or dead-ended. Study after study shows that millennials would rather take lower-paying positions with small companies that give them a sense of community and a chance to be heard over better-paying jobs in large companies with old-school, rigid bureaucracies.
If the millennials aren’t already part of your workforce, you’re in trouble. Because not only are they here; their teenage brothers and sisters – Generation Z – are already preparing themselves to take over the (work) world!