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The Importance of Millennials in the Workplace

As millennials continue to join the workforce in droves, companies must be ready to work with these young people, whose values differ greatly from their generational predecessors. In order to maintain employee retention and productivity while improving company services, businesses must understand the importance of the millennial generation workforce.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Pepperdine University’s Online Master of Business Administration degree program.

millennial workforce employees

What Millennials Want from Employers

The roughly 80 million millennials — individuals born between 1981 and 1997 — in the U.S. have become the most diverse generation the country has ever seen. Additionally, millennials hold more college degrees and debt than those who came before them. By 2025, they will comprise 75% of the workforce. This impending majority calls for greater attention to the generation’s wants and needs to keep employee turnover low.

It is vital to understand millennials’ behavior by learning about their shared values. For instance, Gen X’ers and baby boomers are known to prioritize structure and job security. Meanwhile, millennials prefer flexibility and employability. They generally consider compensation, flexible work schedules, and the opportunity to make a difference when searching for jobs. The vast majority of millennials prefer collaboration to competition. They want work-life integration and the chance to be their own boss, or at least have a mentor. They respect leaders with integrity who can be honest with them while treating them with respect. Challenging projects are not a problem as long as they learn something new.

Employers should note that employee-management conflicts are the primary reason why millennials quit their jobs. Given the number of job changes millennials have made throughout their young careers, it’s clear that they see most current corporate structures as inadequate. Indeed, a study found that 69% of millennials thought the review process at their corporation was flawed because they did not receive feedback consistently throughout the year. As a consequence of lacking review processes, three-quarters of millennials are unsure about where they stand in terms of performance. They would prefer regular assessments from their bosses and are looking for coaching and feedback from those at the top. It doesn’t have to be formal or intensive, but it should be consistent.

Millennials are considered natural collaborators. Employers should encourage this while being clear about roles and deadlines to avoid confusion. This generation wants to work in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable. They are unlikely to stay in a critical or oppressive setting. They also dream big, with goals like climbing the corporate ladder or starting their own businesses. It is important to understand the way they grew up as well: structured and filled with metrics. They understand that measuring systems are in place to assess their performance, and expect these metrics to be clearly defined and fairly gauged. Finally, they like having the ability to work from home or shift their schedules.

What Millennials Want from Employers

Millennials are tech-savvy because they were born in the internet era and had early access to computers. They are socially conscious and civic-minded with genuine concern for the state of the world. Jobs that appeal to them include those where they can make a difference. They are ethnically diverse, contributing to their sense of being global citizens.

They are a highly flexible bunch that doesn’t feel the need to work in an office all the time. In fact, many prefer to choose their location since technology can support this arrangement. Their confidence is also sky high, with almost 90% associating themselves with this trait. They are compassionate when confronted by the difficulties faced by others. Their ideas are dominated by progressive discourse. Positive culture attracts them to a company. They are excellent at multitasking, adventurous, and fun. Working in a team is not a problem.

Millennials bring an entrepreneurial attitude to the workplace. They are unafraid to take chances and pursue their dreams. They are responsible for more than 100,000 startups every month and comprised 29% of all entrepreneurs in 2011 — an astounding feat for such young individuals. The average age for launching their own business is 27, compared to boomers, who averaged 35. Aside from this willingness to take risks, boomers can learn a thing or two about work-life balance from this generation. They don’t focus solely on their work. Part of the reason they like scheduling and workplace flexibility is to spend more time with their families.

How Millennials Could Improve Your Business

Employers should welcome the influx of these young workers into their ranks because they are likely to change the business for the better. They were born to be innovators. This trait is crucial in this hyper-competitive environment where new ideas are popping up everywhere. Innovation is needed to ensure survival. They believe that the biggest barriers are management’s attitude and operational structures. If these can be tweaked, there is a better chance of success. They are not afraid to step up and show their leadership skills. Despite disparaging remarks about their work ethic, this generation believes in hard work. They will apply themselves to any task assigned to them.

How to Attract Millennials

To recruit and retain these young workers, companies should follow a five-step plan. Start by offering competitive salaries and growth opportunities. Just like any other working person, they would like to be compensated well for their efforts and be able to lead a good life. Be sure to maintain transparency as well, because they want this when it comes to business decisions. To attract millennials, companies should create an atmosphere that encourages openness and develops trust within the company. Ditch the hierarchy and give a voice to those who are usually relegated to the bottom of the structure.

Employers should make work challenging, exciting, and fun. There is no reason why serious goal completion cannot be mixed with enjoyment of each task. Even baby boomers are supportive of this workplace philosophy. Perhaps millennials are a bit more social and hungry for a community, with many wanting to treat their colleagues as their second family. Consistent feedback is another critical tool for retaining millennial employees. They may be young but they are eager to get better, and they know constructive criticism is necessary for this to happen. Advice and guidance is not only appreciated, but almost expected, by these future leaders.

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