What do Millennials Want from Their Workplace?

Within the next four years, the number of millennials in the workplace will grow to 86 million, representing 40% of the global workforce. By 2025, this percentage is expected to rise to 75%. It is therefore in every organisation’s best interests to attract and retain millennial talent. If they don’t want to work for you, your business will struggle to stay afloat.

The mindset of a millennial is much different to that of previous generations. Having grown up in a digitised world, Generation Y view work through the same lens as new technology: instability and change are the norm. Time is considered a more precious resource than money and should be spent wisely. Millennials don’t want jobs, they want careers streamlined with their personal lives.

Gen Y businessman

Young people entering the workforce are influencing the modern workplace by bringing 21st century innovations that test the limits of traditional practices. To remain competitive, businesses need to adopt fresh approaches that reflect these attitudes. Simply offering more money will not cut it with this new wave of workers.

Here are four ways you can attract the best talent by giving Generation Y what they want:

Flexible work schedules

Physical presence is no longer a necessity in the modern world. For instance, banking, socialising with friends and ordering dinner can all be done via a connected device. Millennials view work in a similar way. They measure productivity not by hours in an office, but by the amount of work they complete regardless of location.

Almost three quarters of millennials want flexible work schedules and 36% would choose it over a pay rise. Furthermore, 88% want work-life integration where their personal and professional lives blend to create a healthy balance.

The rise of smartphone and cloud technology means that any business can introduce remote working policies. Google, Virgin and many other successful companies ensure flexibility is at the core of their corporate culture. They allow employees to telecommute from home and set their own schedules as long as they get their work done. The traditional nine-to-five is dead, don’t lose employees through outdated work schedules.

A culture that reflects their values

According to the Deloitte 2016 Millennial Survey, the personal values of Generation Y has the greatest influence on their decision making. 44% of respondents said they had turned down a job offer because of the organisation’s values, while 49% had refused to undertake a project at work because it went against their personal values.

Climate change is one of prime concerns of millennials. 88% of modern workers want to work for a company that makes a conscious effort to be environmentally and ethically responsible.

To satisfy an environmentally aware generation of workers, offices should investigate ways of incorporating sustainable design and green workplace initiatives. For instance, the Sussex Exchange conference venue has incorporated a biomass boiler, natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, environmental lighting controls and shingle roofs that provide a natural habitat for wild plants and insects. Of course, your business can do this in smaller ways, such as concerted recycling measures or using green suppliers for events and office products.

Young business leader

Sense of purpose

Having a sense of purpose at work is more important to this latest generation of workers. Almost 10% of the Deloitte survey respondents said having a sense of purpose and meaning in their work is the main reason they chose their employer.

From a personal perspective, millennials want to know how they fit into the organisational puzzle, why their work is relevant and why they are making a difference. They also want to understand the purpose of the company – how does it relate to the wider world and how does their work align to the company’s mission?

It’s important to be transparent about how personal goals are aligned to the larger organisational goals. When it comes to Generation Y employees, reinforcing organisational purpose will increase engagement and drive business results.

Personal and professional development

Millennials are not content with sitting at a desk all day and earning a paycheck. They want to invest time in nurturing new skills and expect their employers to provide opportunities to do so. 63% of Deloitte survey respondents believe their workplace is not making full use of their skills, a trend causing 71% of employees to leave their roles within two years.

A fundamental step towards employee retention is the recognition that people’s lives matter beyond the realm of work. This means sincerely caring about their health, career progression, family and friends.

Supporting the development and life success of your employees requires managers who are strong mentors. Employees should be encouraged to achieve both long-term and short-term career and personal goals. 79% of millennials say having the support of their employer is important to them, while 68% are likely to stay with a company for more than five years if they are provided with support and opportunities to acquire new skills.