The dynamics of today's workforce are changing rapidly. A new generation of millennial workers are permeating the workforce and bringing a new wave of expectations with them. A recent study found that over 75 percent of the workforce will be comprised of this millennial group by the year 2025
This shift will demand the attention of organizations and will require a change in philosophy, operations, and company culture. Organizations that fail to keep up with this dynamic could be in a world of hurt. As an organization, it is important to study this group, learn their workplace expectations, and align your long-term vision with this in mind. Here is a little more information on the millennial generation and the work benefits that are making millennials happy:
What is a Millennial?
First, it's important to understand how this generation is defined. The millennial generation is a demographic cohort following generation x. Typically, millennials are anyone born in the early 1980s through the late 1990s. The group has a string of common character traits, including an affinity for teamwork and community, and a strong sense of personal identity and growth. Clearly, these traits direct their work demands and shape their expectations of an employer. Here are a few work benefits that are making millennials happy:
Millennials are extremely driven and want to be rewarded for their efforts. While money isn't the most important benefit, millennials thrive in an environment where they can be rewarded for work in excess of their established salary. Many sales companies have picked up on this trend and are quick to hire employees in this demographic. The insurance industry is one great example. Insurance agents' salaries are high due to commission
earned on top of a base salary. The opportunity to earn commission and merit-based bonuses is a huge attraction for the millennial worker. Companies that want to attract and retain employees in this group need to transition current performance programs into more individualized rewards programs. Rewards don't have to be monetary, but it doesn't hurt. Other rewards could include promotions, additional training opportunities, or the chance to present an idea or free lunch for a month. The moral of the story is, millennials need and want to feel valued for their contributions. You pick how you will execute this strategy based on your individual circumstances.
The millennial mindset is centered around community. More than any other generation, millennials value teamwork and shape their identities around their work and social relationships. Therefore, it is important that your company creates the space and framework for making this dream a reality. Many companies are moving away from traditional office spaces and opting for more collaborative and open-air concepts. This encourages a culture of collaboration and requires employees to engage with one another.
Another trend that increases collaboration comes from shifting traditional company hierarchies. Organizational charts are moving away from top-down and department-based structures and creating more diverse and lateral teams. This adjustment allows communication to flow more freely and gives each member of the workforce the opportunity to contribute on a variety of projects and to meet many new employees they may never run into otherwise. This strategy is a great way to attract millennials and offer them the team-based environment they need and crave.
Training & Development Programs
The opportunity for professional growth and development is important to the millennial generation. They are much more likely to stick with a company that invests in their development and provides a clear career progression and track. Even smaller companies that don't have the funds or staff size to continually promote within must invest in a growth strategy if they want to retain millennials within their organization.
You do have to be strategic in your approach to training and development. This growth-hungry generation needs to have training in small, bite-sized chunks on a continual basis, must encourage entrepreneurship and self-discovery, and should incorporate technology. Millennials will have their growth goals satisfied if these pieces are woven into the company culture.
Informal, Frequent Feedback
Millennials love flattery and have a need for continual feedback and recognition. As mentioned previously, growth is important to this group, and feedback is correlated with growth.
Unfortunately, traditional performance review processes won't work with this generation. A formal evaluation once a year, or even quarterly, is irrelevant and untimely for the millennial group. They don't want the stuffy, formal reviews of today's traditional human resources practices. Instead, millennials crave informal, friendly, and immediate conversations with their managers. Conversations should communicate individual strengths, areas for improvement, and goals. This philosophy may require a deviation from current practices and the creation of a more feedback-driven culture
. Managers may need additional training on this process and may need to be incentivized to use this new strategy. Regardless, it is an important change for a culture designed for this new working group. Millennials will become bored and underappreciated if steps are not taken to address this process.
As we've already seen, millennials are community-focused. This is important both at work and socially. They crave these interactions and the ability to contribute to these relationships. Therefore, work-life balance
is a benefit that most companies should strive to offer their employees. Things like flex hours, the opportunity to work from home, unlimited paid time off, and paid volunteer days are attractive to this audience. Of course, you must set a level of expectation before opening the flood gates for unlimited time off. Create a process for accountability, and enjoy the benefits of a happy millennial workforce.
These are just a few of the many benefits that will spark the interest of the millennial generation. This group is focused on teamwork, praise and recognition, personal growth, and the ability to contribute in meaningful ways. Offering these benefits is a great way to attract this group and maintain their interest for the long haul.
Cassidy Hennigan is an avid writer with a passion for productivity techniques and career coaching. She juggles between writing for SalariesWiki, giving career-related advice and spending time with her family and friends. When she's not being a workaholic, you can find her sharing interesting pieces of advice on Twitter.