Millennials in the Workplace – What Do They Value?
Thursday, June 9th, 2022
Home » Millennials in the Workplace – What Do They Value?
A common complaint in human resource and hiring teams today is the difficulty of hiring and retaining millennials in the workplace.
Baby boomers are retiring and generation x-ers have fewer technology skillsets than millennials, not to mention there are many more millennials than any other generation in the workforce.
This age group brings a significant and important set of abilities to the workplace.
In fact, they have been called “native technologists”, meaning they use and create technology naturally and easily.
In a marketplace that is becoming increasingly more digital, you can’t afford to ignore millennials.
Any company that hopes to thrive must adapt and understand the values of millennials.
Who Are Millennials in the Workplace?
The millennial generation is often stereotyped as being lazy and entitled.
But when it comes to working, millennials are actually some of the hardest-working employees out there.
They’re constantly striving to improve their skills, and they’re always looking for new opportunities to learn.
One thing that sets millennials apart from other generations is their willingness to take risks.
They’re not afraid to try new things or step outside their comfort zones.
This willingness to take risks can sometimes lead to failure. But it also means that millennials are constantly innovating and pushing the envelope.
Another thing that makes millennials such great employees is their positive attitude.
No matter what the task is, they approach it with a can-do attitude and a smile on their face.
This positive outlook is contagious, and it helps to create a positive work environment for everyone.
6 Values Millennials in the Workplace Cherish
According to the Kauffman Foundation, 54% of millennials either want to start a business or already have started one.
Many millennials grew up idolizing innovative entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
They saw these types of CEOs change the way we do things, the way we see the world.
It’s would be impossible not to be inspired by the advent of the iPhone, the internet, Facebook, and iTunes.
But for kids who grew up in this innovative atmosphere, it can be an obsession.
Many millennials can’t sit still for long; they live in a world of believing they can change everything with a little ingenuity.
So, millennials want to work for companies that are up-to-date with technology.
If your website is five years old, you might want to consider giving it a facelift.
Workers in this age group can spot antiquated technology from a mile away.
In your company culture, stress the value of moving forward, always re-inventing and re-imagining.
Millennials respect this kind of environment and thrive in it.
We all remember the last recession and the toll it took on the American people.
Millennials were mostly in high school and college at that time and they saw the older generation struggle with the pains of an economy that had bottomed out.
Because the recession was caused by Wall Street, millennials are wary of big business and of being taken advantage of.
Many look to buy smaller houses, own simpler cars or have no car at all.
They value traveling and experience over things, partly because they saw their parents’ things nearly drown them.
Companies need to show that they are transparent about their company culture and environment, they follow through with their promises, and there won’t be secrets unveiled once the candidate starts a job there.
Backroom deals and golden parachutes won’t fly with this age group.
3. Giving Back
Millennials appreciate an environment where they have to opportunity to serve their community and the world at large.
This can mean volunteering, corporate giving, sustainability efforts, nature conservation, and more.
When a company shows a strong effort on this front it can attract more millennial workers. This works both on the employee and consumer-facing sides of a company.
43% of millennials value authenticity more than content in almost any context.
They enjoy the human side of the company, the people, and the culture, more than big offices and big paychecks.
This is why more modern companies have open-concept offices with long tables instead of offices or even cubicles.
Millennials in the workplace want to engage, interact and have open conversations with coworkers on all levels.
This translates to the dress code of an office too.
If the boss shows up wearing a suit and tie, most workers in this age group will be significantly less comfortable.
Flannel shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes are the work uniforms of choice.
This seems more authentic to them because the idea that you can do better work when you are dressed up doesn’t ring true.
So, it translates that wearing business attire really is just about image and a false sense of importance.
5. Peer Affirmation
Social media has made millennials a lot more dependent on peer approval than ever before.
They may choose a place to work based on how others perceive that place.
For instance, a millennial may choose to work for a new modern company with an innovative product over a more established, older company that their friends perceive as stuffy, less changeable, and less “cool.”
They may make this choice even for less pay, that’s how important image is to them.
Also, the events your company hosts that are “grammable,” or post-worthy on social media, bring your employer’s brand up a notch.
Millennials love the chance to brag to their peers about the trip their company-sponsored to Park City or Lake Powell.
Try to fit fun and youthful activities into your budget every year.
6. Relaxed Culture
Millennials reject their parents’ perceptions of traditional office culture.
They like open concepts, flexible work schedules, and, as we mentioned before, casual dress.
The idea that people are more productive when they are given trust and freedom to work during the times when they feel the most productive is a popular one amongst this age group.
66% of millennials look for flexible work times and 56% prefer a flexible working place.
They look for control over the work they do, for control over their own destiny.
Some companies are adopting different structures for PTO, and some are even offering unlimited PTO.
As long as employees are getting their work done and the work is exemplary, the time they spend at their desks is less relevant.
This model is gaining popularity and is likely to soon be the norm.
Conclusion: Millennials in the Workplace – Use Them or Lose Them
While it’s a common reaction for the older generations to demand that millennials in the workplace conform to the way it’s always been done, it’s not that simple anymore.
In fact, 79% of millennials say they would quit their job and freelance in order to gain control over their time and lives.
Unless companies adjust from the more traditional, rigid mindset of the 80s and 90s workplace, millennials will opt to work for themselves and this talented segment of the workforce will be even harder to hire.