What Do Millennials REALLY Want From Their Workplace?
Let’s admit it - the workplace is no longer what it used to be! It can no longer be referred to just as ‘the office’. It’s almost a second home, with most employees spending more than 50 hours a week grinding away on their laptops.
Thanks to technology, no one’s ever really ‘not working’. A major chunk of the workforce is made up of minds that are always at work, evaluating the workload that’d greet them on the Monday after a minuscule weekend (thanks to perpetual connectivity)!
Their lives are crammed into the two (for some, just one) days they get off work. This is when they choose to pursue their hobbies, their passions and resuscitate their faltering social lives. And of course, there are the social media networks to take care of too :) For them, going back to work after a holiday worthy of a million likes on Instagram extracts every little ounce from their tired souls.
Who are we talking about?
The ‘Millennials’! The Generation Y, the future.
Demographically, these are the individuals born in the years between the 1980s and the early 2000s. Statistically, they are expected to comprise 50% of the workforce, worldwide, by 2020!
Phew! About time to start considering what they expect from their workplace, isn’t it?
For millennials, the workplace is the key to other, more exciting dreams - that of traveling around the world, owning the latest gadgets, being able to afford every luxury and spend the weekends partying with peers or exploring ‘something new’.
However, it is important to note, that millennials are not all gung-ho about conventional setups, hierarchy and task-oriented roles. They want growth, excitement, a challenging, but favorable work environment and most importantly, recognition for their efforts! Let’s try to understand in detail what the jet-setting generation needs from its workplace.
What do millennials really want from their workplace?
Most employers face the grave challenge of hiring and retaining a talented workforce. Millennials are known to hop across organizations, with the promise of fatter paychecks and opportunities for leadership.
Gone are the days when people stuck fast to their existing jobs for ‘security’ - millennials believe in taking the opportunity when it presents itself, instead of being stuck in a rut for the sake of security.
They expect their workplace to reflect their personalities - fast, technology-driven and growth-oriented.
Here are some of the expectations of a millennial which might help an organization retain most of its employees.
It has been observed that millennials are accustomed to attention and appreciation as soon as they join an organization, and expect regular affirmation in the workplace. As mentioned earlier, they are also more prone to switch jobs (sometimes, careers too) earlier, and more frequently, when compared to the previous generations. Recognition satisfies employees on a psychological level - it leads to elevated performance and efforts when the employees feel inspired and incentivized to do more. Being recognized in a meaningful manner, and consistently, strengthens the millennials’ connection with the workplace and encourages them to contribute more.
Recognition should ideally be in the form of promotions or career advancements. Compensation too plays an important role, but not as much as verbal praise from their higher-ups. Millennials need recognition for their personal achievements as well as their individual contribution to the team’s success.
Additionally, rewards through salary boosts and experiential perks (tickets to a popular event/game is a good starting point) also encourage employees to maintain a long-lasting bond with the organization.
Most millennials expect flexible work arrangements from their employers which could include the following:
- Flexible Time: Employees choosing when they start and finish work.
- Flexible Roles: Employees choosing what they do as a part of their work profiles (within certain guidelines)
- Flexible Location: Employees choosing to work from home, from the workplace or any other location.
Flexibility helps millennials achieve a favorable work-life balance, that enables them to meet their social needs, as well as indulge in hobbies and relaxation. With the advent of technology, the boundaries that restrict work to a 9-5 framework are slowly dissolving. Work can now be effectively accomplished from any location.
Essentially, millennials aspire to have the best of both worlds - the flexibility of a freelance contract and the stability of a full-time office profile. Organisations could have a policy of restricting work from home or any other location for the first few months after a millennial joins them - this is purely to make sure that he/she engages with the people in the organization, and pick up skills that can only be learned through interaction and involvement at the workplace. Once the employees are proven to be independent and responsible enough for their work, the restrictions can be lifted. In fact, allowing flexibility could lead to an increase in overall productivity and employee happiness.
3. Quality of work
Millennials are more interested in improving their skill sets and knowledge than just working for a paycheck. There is a revolutionary shift from the traditional on-the-job training mindset - Training is no longer just a means of achieving compliance and company-mandated policies. The best training programme is that which taps into employee interests, career goals, and personal passions.
Learning to lead is another important factor that drives millennials. Tied with this factor, is employee mobility. Since millennials are more prone to hop across organizations to gain opportunities to move up the corporate ladder, it helps if they have opportunities to do so within their current organization itself. By giving preference to internal recruitments for openings, both horizontally and vertically, employees get the chance to learn along the way and build a lasting bond with the organization.
Additionally, millennials attach a lot of importance to a ‘sense of purpose’.
They are concerned about how they are contributing to the organization and also if their role matters. An organization can develop performance assessment strategies that focus on educating the employees about how their goals are aligned with the organization’s purpose.
Millennials also focus on how relevant the organization is to the grand scheme of things - if it is making any contributions to the betterment of the world. Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the important constituents of an organization’s purpose and is often cited as one of the strongest reasons why a millennial would want to associate with a particular employer.
4. More time with the Manager
Gone are the days of one-sided, year-end performance reviews where the manager spoke in a monotonous drone and the employees just listened.
Millennials seek ongoing feedback, clear goals, and collaborative goal identification that allows for a more informed setting of performance expectations which they deem fair and relevant. Most employees struggle to find a connection between the work they do, and the goals of the organization as a whole, owing to the lack of communication between them and their managers.
Employee engagement needs frequent, small sessions between the manager and his team members. This doesn’t just help the employees in aligning their goals to that of the organization but also contributes to their success in attaining them. Additionally, regular one-on-one sessions enable the employees to convey the hurdles they may be facing in achieving their daily targets, what they need to be more effective at work, and to be on the same page as the higher-ups of the organization.
This can also be an opportunity for the manager to gauge if the employee needs additional training or to upgrade his/her skill sets.
5. Social Work Environment
Most millennials want a ‘social’ work environment - one where they can interact with their co-workers and get to know them better. This is especially important in organizations where teamwork is needed. Along with collaborative workspaces, they also need opportunities to participate in activities that encourage some personal bonding, along with professional mingling.
This can be achieved by organizing company-wide social and volunteering activities frequently. Additionally, there could be monthly meetups where the organization’s achievements are talked about, employee achievements are rewarded, and some fun activities are planned.
Encourage meetups between co-workers to make sure they find some common ground to bond over. Community game areas and napping stations are also good ways to keep employees relaxed, especially in stressful work environments. Creating a happy and social environment helps employees break out of the rut of daily routine, and refresh themselves.
Looking for a fun engagement activity for millennials in your office? Our Fun Office Awards for Millennials are a great choice. From Always Slaying to Lit AF to On Fleek, we have funny award titles for every Gen Y team member. Each award is creatively illustrated, can be personalised, and available for shipping globally.