Is Your Workplace Millennial ready?

People – myself included – come into work, fresh out of University, and expect the world to be handed to them on a plate. We have a reputation as entitled and lazy.

We are the regularly (and occasionally correctly) criticised generation: The Millennials. Which sounds like a terrible boyband, encasing an entire generation into a box – but undeniably this generalisation has gained media traction so let’s run with it…

For those who don’t know, Millennials are defined as those reaching young adulthood in the early 21st Century. I am one myself. And our sullied reputation stems from one opinion – shared by 61% of HR professionals – we’re simply not prepared for the world of work.

Naturally, this reputation hasn’t emerged from nowhere. There are individuals (perhaps armies) within the millennial cohort who are entitled, selfish, boastful and infuriatingly lazy.

As a head’s up, these are not the sorts of people anyone wants to be talking to, let alone recruiting – therefore this blog targets the proactive, motivated and modest members of the millennial generation.

To the others: continue enjoying the difference between Yanni and Laurel, avocado on toast and complaining about Friends on Netflix.

To flip this opinion on its head: working Millennials are also unhappy. Only 20% of them feel engaged, and as a result 6/10 will quit their jobs within 3 years, at a cost of approx. £20,000 per person to companies.

Accordingly, there is a widespread need to make workspaces more accommodating to millennials to save needless expense. 5 factors which help millennials stick around are:

1. Autonomy– Millennials dislike work without knowing its end purpose
2. Feedback – 42% want weekly feedback (double % of every other generation)
3. Customisation – personal input and creativity is highly valued
4. Collaborative style, similar to that experienced at college or university in group projects, is preferred over a competitive one.
5. Sense of meaning – 92% believe that success of business is measurable by more than profit alone: they want companies to match their ideals.

It is not Millennials who are unprepared for the world of work, but the world of work that is unprepared for millennials.

Like it or not, it won’t be long before Millennials occupy the majority of managerial positions. Meeting their workspace desires to ensure they stick around, and are most productive, is essential to ensuring the longevity of any business.

For more information, check out van den Bergh and Dewulf’s recent article

Next blog: Agile Working: the product of impatience.