There’s quite a bit of misinformation surrounding the Millennial generation. While there are countless articles talking about what they can’t do, few talk about what they actually want. Millennials are a huge part of the workforce and they’ll only get bigger. Understanding what they really want will help businesses to better utilize their skills. By Malcolm Rowlings, March 2017
A Balance of Work and Life
Millennials see jobs as important parts of their lives, but they don’t necessarily want to spend all their time at work. This is a generation that has a very strong sense of self, and that sense means not devoting everything to their place of business. Long hours are fine for some, but most want to know that they’ll be able to balance home and life. As the members of the generation get older, they’re more likely to want to balance being a parent with working, so expect most to care about things like company daycare and time off for maternity and paternity leave.
Millennials abhor meaningless tasks, perhaps because of how these tasks were presented in school. Don’t expect them to want a job that’s full of endless meetings or reports, but do expect them to flourish any time you give them something with a clear goal. If a millennial is going to work, it is because he or she sees what the point of the job might be. Don’t give a millennial vague instructions and hope for the best – instead, give them a reason to get the job done and let them know what the endpoint is. You might be surprised by what happens when you give them meaningful jobs.
A Chance to Succeed
Millennials also want a chance to contribute to the company. While it’s often been said that they don’t have a great deal of company loyalty, the truth is that millennials are often more motivated when they can see that their successes contribute to something greater than themselves. Put a millennial in charge of something and you’ll see him or her flourish. This is a generation that likes to see results, and that likes to see them quickly. They’ll work harder and faster if they receive positive performance recognition.
According to Business Insider, workers of this generation also prize flexibility, perhaps more so than the generations that came before them. Perhaps due to their comfort with technology, this is a generation that wants to telecommute and work from home when possible and to work nonstandard schedules when it is not. Millennials look at work as task-oriented rather than time-oriented, so they rarely see the relevance of a particular start and end time. These are workers who will get the job done, but want to do it when it makes sense to them.
A Feeling of Respect
Perhaps more than anything else, a millennial wants to feel like he or she is respected in the workplace. This doesn’t mean that he or she wants special treatment, but rather that he or she wants to be treated as an adult. After years of hearing how he or she is coddled or doesn’t understand the world, a person of this generation wants an opportunity to go into the workplace and earn a measure of respect. In this, at least, the average millennial isn’t terribly different from the young people of any other preceding generation.
Millennials want to work hard and contribute, but they want to do it on their own terms. Meet them half way, and they’ll succeed every time. Millennials are changing the workforce, but that can be a good thing for those who can harness their energy and drive.