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Workplace Values and Expectations of the Millennial Generation

Hiring and keeping Millennials Happy in the 21st Century

If you want to attract Millennial interest in hiring and retention on the job, ask how you can accommodate their desire to apply their social networking skills to their jobs. Beyond that, Millennials have specific needs and wants that should be addressed by future employers.

According to a study by the CAA Intelligence Group 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020—representing a full 40% of the total working population. Thus, it is in the best interests of prospective employers to understand what makes Millennials tick. What motivates them to choose to work for one organization over another? What keeps them engaged and a productive worker? What turns them off?

The Intelligence Group studies of millennials have found that:

· 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.

· 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.

· 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.

· 74% want flexible work schedules.

· And 88% want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably.

The survey concludes that millennials are looking strategically at opportunities to invest in a place where they can make a difference, preferably a place that itself makes a difference.

From my experience Millennials look for different things than did older generations of workers. They are not bound by a 9-5 working day preferring instead to have time flexibility. The key to keeping them interested and committed to work is to understand they’ll get the work done but don’t want to compartmentalize their time to do it.

Millennials’ use of technology clearly sets them apart. One of the defining characteristics

of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world. They have grown up

with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and expect instant

access to information. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp

of a key business tool than more senior workers.

Millennials view the workplace through the same lens of new technology as any other aspect of their lives: instant, open and limitless. The era they have grown up in has shown them that nothing is a guarantee. Instability and rapid change are the norm. To millennials, time no longer equals money. It is a limited resource to be spent wisely and actively managed.

Millennials don’t just want to spend their time earning a paycheck; they want to invest time acquiring the skills and knowledge they need to grow both personally and professionally. They know one particular job may be fleeting and they’ll likely move on a few times during their professional lives. They seek out an employer who can provide the skills necessary to get ahead and climb the ladder of corporate success.

There have been many criticisms of millennials by older workers including baby-boomers. Some say they are more interested in their own needs than those of an employer. Others claim they lack an adequate work ethic. Still others feel the commitment to the organization is fleeting as they expect to move on after a few years. These attributes may be different than ever before, but that doesn’t mean their bad or wrong. It means employers have to learn to effectively reach out to millennials; provide a stimulating work environment; allow for flexibility in work hours; provide consistent feedback so they know just how well they are doing; and be sensitive to their need to access social media during the day – within prescribed limitations.

Of course millennials have to understand what their employers need and want through the employers’ lens. A committed employee who is trustworthy in today’s world is a bonus to employers. My recommendation is for the Millennial and employer to have a frank discussion about needs, wants, expectation, evaluations, and social responsibility issues.

Finally, employers should bear in mind that this generation makes the environment and sustainability a critical component of their lifestyle choices. Employers need to pay attention to what they do along these lines and expectations for their employers. Developing a sustainability program at work attracts Millennials and keeps them involved. It’s good for society and good for the workplace.

Blog posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on October 20, 2015. Professor Mintz is on the faculty of the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He also blogs at:

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