#160. What We Know About the Millennials – Conclusion

Posted on | The Agurban
What We Know About the Millennials – Conclusion

How to Attract and Retain Millennials

What do today’s young employees want? What kind of work environments attract, retain, and motivate Millennial coworkers?

Here are their six most frequent requests:

  • You be the leader. This generation has grown up with structure and supervision, with parents who were role models. The Millennials are looking for leaders with honesty and integrity. It’s not that they don’t want to be leaders themselves, they’d just like some great role models first.
  • Challenge me. Millennials want learning opportunities. They want to be assigned to projects they can learn from. They’re looking for growth, development, a career path
  • Let me work with friends. Millennials say they want to work with people they click with. They like being friends with coworkers. Employers who provide for the social aspects of work will find those efforts well rewarded by this newest cohort. Some companies are even interviewing and hiring groups of friends.
  • Let’s have fun. A little humor, a bit of silliness, even a little irreverence will make your work environment more attractive.
  • Respect me. “Treat our ideas respectfully,” they ask, “even though we haven’t been around a long time.”
  • Be flexible. The busiest generation ever isn’t going to give up its activities just because of jobs. A rigid schedule is a sure-fire way to lose your Millennial employees.

For years, we’ve given lip service to internal customer service. It means treating employees the way we do customers. But, in most companies the idea really hasn’t been put into practice. The Millennial workforce will cause us to make internal customer service a way of doing business.

“But what if the economy takes a nose dive-or another nose dive? Then these young people won’t be able to be quite so demanding, will they? It’ll be a seller’s market. We won’t have to bend over backwards to cater to them.” Bending over backwards is just what we’re going to have to do, although it will be a lot more fun and rewarding than it might seem. We’re going to need Millennial workers desperately over the next decade-even if the economy doesn’t take wings. It’s those dang Baby Boomers who are causing the problems. The average age for a nurse is 47. That means she-or he-will be moving on before long. Half of all certified school teachers plan to retire within five years. Sixty percent of all Federal workers are Baby Boomers who say they’re on the edge of retirement. There’s no getting around it. We’re going to need those Millennials.

So back to the internal customer service idea. It’s time to think of our businesses like we would a small retail venture. Just as we would consider customers, we need to consider employees. We need to ask ourselves: 

  • Where do our employees tend to come from and where can we get more like them?
  • How can we attract them?
  • What kind of experience and environment are they looking for?
  • Once we’ve got them here, how can we keep them coming back?
  • What kind of perks can we offer that will have them stick with us?
  • How can we reward the most loyal of them?
As an employer, what can you do?

  • Design office space so that Millennials are set up physically to share ideas.
  • Consider assigning projects to groups of employees who are evaluated as a group for reaching a goal.
  • Set up a reverse mentoring program. Companies from Procter and Gamble to Siemens have set up tutoring for middle-aged executives. Young newcomers help the executives navigate the Net. Jack Welch of General Electric fame says that “e-business knowledge is usually inversely proportional to age and rank.” GE matched 1,000 managers and 1,000 young employees. Even though the younger cohort had just joined the firm, they tended to understand new technologies better than GE’s finest.
Millennials want to work with positive people, be challenged, be treated respectfully, learn new knowledge and skills, work in friendly environments, have flexible schedules and be paid well Employers need to be sure they are meeting the Millennials’ high expectation, are not discounting their ideas for lack of experience and are not feeling threatened by their technical knowhow.

Are you ready? The Millennials are here! 

Connecting Generations: The Sourcebook by Claire Raines