Millennials in the Workplace

By February 15, 2018 March 7th, 2018 No Comments

5 things you need to know about how this generation operates in the working world.  

If it wasn’t obvious by now, millennials are changing the workforce. From open office layouts to lack of a hierarchy, the working world is not the same as it used to be just five years ago. Companies both corporate and privately owned are changing the way they do business in order to attract and engage this new generation. According to Navex Global, millennials make up 25% of the current workforce population. Catalyst states that millennials will account for three-quarters of working age people by 2025. Unlike the popular belief that millennials are lazier, always glued to their phones, and have a poor work ethic; they are actually motivated, driven, and changing the way that work gets done. With that being said there are certain things that millennials are looking for when it comes to deciding where they want to work and who they bring their business to.

Here are the five things that can transform a work environment to better engage a millennial workforce.

  1. Millennials want a coach not a manager. Shifting from a manager mindset to a coaching mindset is not only beneficial for your employees but for you as well. You will get more from your co-workers and create a more productive and growth oriented environment. Some tips for acting like more of a coach and less of a manager are stay open, be a great listener, and be curious. Staying open means asking open ended questions and being open to the new ideas and responses you receive from your millennial employees and be open with your feedback when coaching millennials. Be a good listener. Listen to ideas, concerns, and any comments and look for solutions when necessary. Be curious. Ask questions, do research, and try to look at things from a different perspective.  
  2. Millennials want to work with a purpose.  Boring is bad, millennials seek ever-changing tasks within their work and look to whatever is happening next. Millennials have a can do attitude and seek work that is not only challenging but acknowledged and has a specific purpose for the company. Busy work is not an option for this generation and neither is doing work that doesn’t get recognition. They want to use their talents and strengths to create meaningful work. Millennials want a challenge in order to learn and develop in their professional role and be able to have growth within the company. Not only are they looking for a job that they are passionate about but they want something that fits into their career path and permits growth and development.  
  3. Millennials want benefits but not traditional benefits. For some, work-life balance is more important than salary when deciding where to work. In 2017, there are certain benefits that companies must offer in order to attract the millennial generation. This goes beyond the basic benefits of health care and vision insurance, paid vacation, and a 401k to offer perks such as work life balance, freedom in work, etc. In order to keep millennials happy in the company and the position they are in, there must be benefits and those benefits have to be enough to keep them interested in the position and the company. Millennials also want those benefits that give them greater flexibility and autonomy in life. This goes into their need for a work life balance. 
  4. Millennials want a work life balance. A work-life balance allows for flexibility each day while creating a more productive environment when working, allowing employees to explore their other passions in life. Millennials have reimagined the typical 40-60 hour work week with creating more flexibility in where and how they get their work done. More companies are allowing employees to work remotely in order to maintain mental health and a positive work life balance that millennials are looking for. While most may think this is because of millennial laziness, it actually increases productivity and job performance. It allows those to be productive while they are working but also explore other passions and interests in their personal lives. Millennials would rather focus on the quality of work rather than the amount of hours they work a week. 
  5. Millennials do not want a typical hierarchical structure. Hierarchies are outdated. Millennials want a workplace where they have the freedom and authority to make impactful decisions. This means having an autonomous, engaging, and collaborative environment for workers. Millennials aren’t afraid to share their opinions and ideas with “higher-level” employees. They want their point of view to be heard and while they do respect authority they are not afraid to challenge their ideas or question their opinions. They prefer a cross-functional way of working as opposed to having a rank in the company. This comes not from a disdain for authority, but from the notion that the best possible outcome for the company will come from listening to everybody’s point of view.They prefer a cross-functional way of working that transcends the constraints of rank, genuinely believing this is better for the business than blindly following orders passed down from the top of the totem pole.

Millennials want to be seen as working with you not for you. They value collaboration, teamwork, and inclusivity. By sharing ideas, building rapport, and communicating with coworkers and management, millennial workers feel more passionately engaged in the organizations they’re apart of . It is important that the company culture aligns with their values and matches their needs or else they will take their strengths and insight elsewhere. Use these tips to gear your company and yourself to align with millennials and attract them in this competitive landscape.

At Soul Media we consider ourselves a Millennial friendly company. As a millennial myself I have noticed that many of these tips apply directly to what I am looking for in a company. Soul Media strives to offer its employees a great work life balance by allowing everyone to have flexible hours, work from home occasionally, and overall creating a fun work environment. A work-life balance is one thing but making the office a fun place to work is one step ahead. Engaging with coworkers on a personal level by having thoughtful conversations, special occasion work outings (team happy hours, dinners, etc) and music in the office (if permitting) creates a more relaxed work environment that fosters productivity and collaboration. Soul Media also eliminated hierarchies from day one, they’re bad remember. While employee roles are intact, like CEO and marketing coordinator to name a few, there is not top-down fashion in the way we work together on a day to day basis. We view ourselves as a team and work together in a collaborative way taking teamwork approach. At Soul Media we pride ourselves on creating meaningful work that gives each and every employee a purpose. When you’re a startup, there’s no such thing as busy work. Everyone is creating work for our clients and company in order to help build our business and highlight our amazing partners. Every employee gets tasks depending on their personal and professional strengths and whenever there are weaknesses we are mentored in how to overcome them or what can be done better next time. At Soul Media we are coached through adversaries and taught to be curious about new concepts and ideas. While we are still learning about each other as a team, we have created an environment that a productive employee (and millennial) looking for autonomy, work life balance, and freedom to create meaningful work would thrive in.


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Dana Martin

Author Dana Martin

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