As the baby boomer generation enters the end phase of their working lives, the newest generation of workers, millennials, are entering the working world in vast numbers. This new generation, born between 1980 and 2000, are very different to their ‘generation X’ and ‘baby boomer’ predecessors; they have different career expectations and are motivated by different things.Fast progression: The opportunity to learn as much as they can in order to fast-track their careers.Flexibility: The freedom to work where and how best suits them, as long as they get the work done.A work/life balance: They will work hard when it counts, but millennials are aware that work is not the sum total of their existence.Travel opportunities: Most millennials would like their job to include some overseas work experience.Regular feedback and praise: Annual performance reviews are just too infrequent for millennials. They prefer to know how they’re doing much more regularly, and how they can improve.Common values: Millennials look for employers with corporate social responsibility values that match their own.
Considering the fact that by 2020 millennials will make up 50% of the global workforce, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report Millennials at work: Reshaping the work space, it is critical that employers adapt their policies to attract and retain this influential generation of employees, poised to reshape the world of work.
Attracting the next generation of talent
A good place to start when it comes to understanding what appeals to millennials is to look at the companies considered pioneers in crafting an entirely new kind of company culture.
An international example of such a company is Facebook. Having worked at their San Francisco office for a year, Phillips paints a picture of this new approach to company culture.
“Facebook certainly challenges the previous generation’s approach to the office culture and have grown an incredible culture of their own,” he says. “For me, the big thing they do is to focus on making sure that their employees have everything they needed to do their jobs, including all the small things.
Engineers have the freedom to explore interesting product ideas; managers aren’t there to micro-manage, they are there to move your ideas forward. The campus has incredible on-site facilities such as a gym, arcades, restaurants, and a sweet shop.
Employers need to shift focus in terms of the benefits offered to employees; to offer new opportunities for growth and development, ways for employees to work their way up the ladder faster if they are willing to earn it, and mentorship from more senior employees. Mix teams generationally.
Let employees learn from one other and see things from new perspectives. Give millennials the freedom they crave to get the job done unconstrained by rigid work styles. Give them positive and helpful feedback in real time – and then stand back and watch them grow.
Ultimately, employers need to understand millennials and plan ahead when it comes to new recruitment and management policies. With this understanding comes the acknowledgment that millennials may not stick around as long as previous generations. They are always looking
for ways in which to advance their careers, which means that employers should expect them to move on, and plan accordingly.
What do millennials wnat?
It’s not all about the money for millennials. So what else is important to them?
Democracy: They like to feel like their opinions are heard.