Millennials now comprise somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30% of the total North American workforce. Similar stats exist in the U.K. and elsewhere, even though much of Europe is experiencing issues allowing their younger generations to take over the helm. With so many millennials in the job market, and Generation Z getting ready to dip their toes into a potential career soon, retaining millennials and grooming them to manage the next generation of workers needs to be on the forefront of any successful business’s agenda.
The trouble is that this generation is troubled at the prospect of settling down and working their way up in a single company. The traditional 9 – 5, work 24-plus days out of every month, work comes first always model the Gen Xers adopted from their reformed hippie parents doesn’t fly with the new breed. Millennials are different, and if you’re building a business you want to leave to the world as your legacy, or simply an owner/manager trying to build a reliable team, you need to understand their unique needs and wants.
The opportunity to learn and develop within the organisation.
Millennials are very keyed-in on developing and nurturing a sense of self worth in the life they lead. In days of old, the majority of workers dreamed of a bigger and better job, yet in most cases politely waited their turn, leaving the advancement opportunities to the few go-getters who dared to challenge the status quo at the time. Most people were brought up with the idea they had to get a decent job, mortgage a house in the suburbs, have kids, and work on building their 401k for retirement.
Millennials don’t think that way at all. They’re working today in anticipation of the opportunities that will be offered to them tomorrow. Many of them apparently developed this unwavering urge from video games — the “level up” mentality. Each day that goes by where they don’t feel as if you’re providing opportunities to learn new skills and take on more and more challenging workflows, the millennial is likely to be online looking for an opportunity that will satisfy that need.
Millennials are focused on short term goals and achieving them lightning fast. Constant mentorship via recognising a job well done, correcting bad habits, answering their questions, and affirming their potential is key to honing in on their career-minded desires. Without guidance, very few employees of any generation will feel like they’re moving forward in their career.
Millennials have watched their grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and probably a sibling/cousin or two wilt under the crushing force of doing nothing but working, sleeping, eating and repeating day in and out. Heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness are all harsh realities that come with working yet never really living. If you want to keep them around, you as a manager need to realise the emotional benefits that come from giving employees the flexibility to get work done when they want to, and from wherever they want to get it done.
Offering the ability to work remotely satisfies both, as does a flexible schedule where employees can come into the office outside normal business hours to get their work done. Don’t forget encouraging vacation time. You still need to touch base often, as despite what many anti-millennial-types have said, gen Y still craves face-to-face communication and will quickly drift away from jobs that don’t allow for it.
Perks outside their salary.
Healthcare, 401k, profit-sharing, etc. These are all desirable perks to offer any employee, of any generation. Millennials want to feel like they’re getting more value from their job than they’re putting in. Things like remote working, exciting travel, and networking opportunities are all a definite plus. Free movie, concert, theatre, special event, and amusement park tickets for them and their friends/family definitely help to sweeten the pot. As do opportunities to hone their skills outside the company, such as paid training at a local college or vocational center.
Millennials want to feel like they’re valued beyond a monetary number. They also want to be able to show off and tell their friends and family about all the perks they’re getting from their employer — don’t disappoint them!
Millennials may be different from their predecessors, but they’re infinitely more valuable as we creep further into the digital era. They’re more mature than gen Zers, yet way more technologically savvy than their aging gen Z counterparts. The shift happening in the current job market is very much an “out with the old, in with the new” scenario.
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
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