Written by, Brittany Sutton
In 2016, Millennials became the largest generation in the United States workforce, that being said, understanding what appeals to Millennials in a job is crucial. Millennials were born roughly between 1981 and 1996 and are currently 23 to 38 years old. When trying to evaluate an employee in this age range, it is important to take into consideration the significant life events taking place. This generation is graduating college, beginning their first “career” job, buying a house, getting married and becoming a parent. These events in their personal lives are going to influence the qualities they look for in their ‘work life.’ After reading countless articles, reports, and statistics, I have come up with a list of ‘assets’ we (Millennials, yes, I am one) hope for from our employers. If you are a manager, supervisor, owner of a company, or even a Baby Boomer trying to figure out the younger crowd taking over your workplace, this article may help you better understand, and most importantly retain, your Millennial employees.
Millennials have a hunger to learn. We want an employer who offers learning and development opportunities. Whether it’s continuing education, letting us take online courses, or attending conferences or webinars, this is something Millennials find value in. According to a 2018 Millennials at Work Report, learning, development, and training are ranked right below healthcare as one of the most important benefits when deciding on a potential job. Managers should also be a huge advocate for career progression and training, simply because, at the end of the day, any extra knowledge the employee gains, adds more value to the company.
Secondly, a flexible schedule and a good work-life balance is key to retaining your Millennial employee. In 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a company-wide investigation to figure out why so many of their employees were leaving within three years of being hired. The findings show the long hours and the work-life tradeoff weren’t working for the younger employees, leading them to find employment elsewhere. The study also shows Millennials do not believe productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed. We see work as a “thing” and not a “place”. With today’s technology, working from anywhere is a great option to give employees. My generation has grown up with advanced technology, making it so we never really turn work off. By giving your employee a couple of work from home days and allowing them to avoid the grueling commute, you may end up with a happier, more appreciative, employee. Data collected by PGI shows 20-30 million Americans work from home at least one day a week and 81 percent of Millennials think they should set their own work schedule versus the 69 percent of Baby Boomers. Set in stone work hours are a thing of the past, Millennials want flexibility and freedom.
The same study done by PGI found 88 percent of Millennials want a fun and social workplace. Our generation values office activities such as holiday parties, volunteer days, and company picnics; it brings coworkers closer together, promotes collaboration at work and generally speaking, it just makes work a happier place. Another statistic in the report found 71 percent of employees would like their coworkers to be like a second family to them. A positive environment and fun work culture are extremely appealing to this generation.
Lastly, I found millennials want job stability. When the work report surveyed thousands of Millennials, 43 percent said they expect to only have 3 to 5 jobs over the course of their career. The study shows this generation isn’t looking to job-hop through their career and most of the job changes happen before age 24. According to Gallup, the majority of millennials plan to retire in their 60’s, which means one thing, we need job security to make that possible.
In conclusion, if companies are looking to retain Millennials, I think they need to tailor the traditional old school methods and create a more modern-day approach to the workday. Let’s take advantage of today’s ever-growing use of technology and create more flexibility within our schedules. Let’s give employees the options to learn and gain knowledge to make them more valuable and let’s give them the resources to progress in their career without having to switch jobs every few years to do so.