Updated: Sep 23, 2020
I am a proud Millennial. I am near 40, a homeowner, a mother of two, a part of the Financial Independence movement and I don't eat avocado toast (on weekends, ha!). As a group, we are are quickly becoming the majority of the workforce. We are gaining more professional experiences, creating unique businesses and leveraging our skill sets for the global economy. We often ask "why not?" and will keep asking until we are satisfied with the answer. Organizations should be keen to talk with Millennials collectively to determine what we are interested in. Why? Well, why not? Talking to Millennials is an educational exercise and can also help you determine how to best leverage us at work. Here is a list of different things that your Millennial employees may want.
Quality Health Benefits Such as Discounted Gym Memberships
Since we are the Sandwich Generation (raising children and worrying about our ageing parents), one of the things that we are interested in is enhancing our health through corporate benefits, such as discounted gym memberships.
In light of the global pandemic, the world is learning more and more about the importance of health
In light of the global pandemic, the world is learning more and more aware about the importance of health. Being healthy is a culture in itself and employers can enhance their #workplaceculture by supporting their employees through discounted gym memberships and other health incentives. Things such as standing desks and water intake challenges are helpful and a good start. I shared this same advice a few months ago to PEO Focus that you can read here.
A Diverse Workforce
Thanks to the advent of social media, many Millennials follow, imitate and/or appreciate a blend of different cultures. Working in a diverse workforce allows Millennials to stay connected to the world outside of their own races, ethnicities and gender. It also allows them to appreciate and learn from different generations in a unique way. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is important...something that we will likely discuss on other blog postings. In the meantime, let this question sit with you as an organization "how can I appropriately diversity my workforce, ensure that things are inclusive and promote equity?"
Consistent and Edifying Feedback
Managers should be keen to communicate with their employees and teams regularly. Good communication is key for better work productivity. It is a natural way to elevate respect in the workplace when communication is a two-way street. Many colleagues that fall within my generation want regular and consistent feedback. The feedback should also be edifying so that we can get better with our craft. Managers can do this by: (1) setting up a formal 1:1 to meet weekly or biweekly; (2) consider/plan the feedback that they want to give first; (3) create an environment where the employee can ask questions and (4) manage their emotional intelligence. For many Millennials, knowing that we're on the right path with our work is helpful and can eliminate any confusion. It also supports our professional metrics and can give us the ability to engage with elevating the company's marketplace proposition. We don't have time for guessing games - no one does, regardless of their generation. Thus, if you are a manager - consider setting up a formal 1:1 and allowing your employee to participate so that there is alignment with the work.
The truth is, many Millennials are now taking on multiple jobs because the cost of living has increased over the last 20+ years. We are either working as a freelancer with multiple jobs or engaging in side hustles in an effort to save more money. I know this to be true of the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) community that seeks to pay off their debt and invest/save a high percentage of their income. Speaking from personal experience, my goals are to retire in 10 years which is a shift in how much I save monthly (in comparison to the average Joe). Now, if you are not familiar with FIRE, that may make you giggle since I'm not yet 40. However, the point is that many Millennials are a part of that same community - even those that are not, financial incentives such as paying student loans will help to retain quality talent at your company.
Autonomy but not "Solo Dolo"
The ability to work hours that work for us has been the much needed breathe of fresh air, thanks to the global pandemic. Many organizations that previously stated that working remote is not an option quickly learned to adjust. Their workforce did as well, gladly. Working independently and autonomously has been a much requested accommodation, even before the pandemic. The truth is, working the regular 9 AM - 5 PM hours simply does not work for many of us in part because it did not take in the actual differences of work style. Regardless of generation, some people work better at night and are true "Night Owls". The ability to work and complete projects at a time that is best suited for the respective person, is paramount. It allows the employee to bring their best self to their work. That being said, it is important that "no man is an island." Working autonomously does not mean necessarily mean working alone.
Good Workplace Culture
Finally and perhaps most importantly, a good workplace culture is what ALL employees want. Employees want to feel psychologically safe and that they can trust and be trusted. Building a strong and positive workplace culture takes a combination of regular communication, transparency, diversity, the ability to bring our best selves to the workplace and TRUST. Employees, regardless of their levels (frontline all the way to senior leaders) must gain conflict resolution skills. Everyone must know that their voice is appreciated.
If you think the above is asking too much, consider re-framing your thoughts to acknowledge that the world has changed and is continuously changing. Corporations and even smaller companies have the ability to leverage their workforce and engage with them in a unique way that will elevate the company's productivity, processes and profit. Whether increasing your communication cadence or purchasing a gift card for #AvocadoToast, you have the ability to work with and leverage the Millennials in the workforce.
Let me know how I can support you as you support the Millennials in your organization by contacting me at info[at]avinuconsulting.com.
Photo courtesy of Parsnips and Pastries.