Millennials make up the largest workforce by age in the United States, according to Pew Research. Companies spend millions of dollars researching this demographic to better understand their preferences and goals.
Businesses that understand millennials will attract them as employees and steal them from competitors. And if businesses want a good relationship with their millennial employees, they’ll work to understand and meet their needs.
Here are some ways businesses can cater to millennials in the workplace:
Offer solid career development
According to a study by Gallup, the number one thing millennials look for in a job is “opportunity to learn and grow.”
More than money and benefits, millennials want training and career development. There are a few ways businesses can respond:
- Offer or mandate personal training with experts in your business
- Offer departmental transfers so employees can explore new skills and areas
- Ensure continued training and education deep into employment periods
Here’s what not to do: have an annual assessment that gives them a small pay increase. Instead, offer results-based advancement in the workplace.
Even if they’ve been employed for six months, if they’re excelling in leadership, consider making them a supervisor. And give them the resources and tools to succeed in that position.
It’s important to put career advancement in the hands of millennials.
Foster relational management
In the same study, millennials ranked “Quality of Manager” and “Quality of Management” as the second and third most important items in a job.
There are a lot of ways to measure the quality of management, but it’s clearly important to millennials. They don’t want to work for someone with a poor personality.
Here’s how businesses can respond:
- Encourage supervisors to build relationships with employees
- Prevent and reduce mistreatment of employees (i.e. not tolerating slander or taking out anger on employees)
- Promote mentorship to further employee training and relationship simultaneously
This can be challenging since management may have to undo years of psychological conditioning. Businesses should avoid the “I’m just here to work and not make friends” mentality.
Millennials want managers who genuinely care about them.
Offer remote work options
This may not be possible for every business, but working remotely is becoming the new norm.
Technology has allowed millennials to order food remotely, shop for everything remotely, do banking remotely, and find significant others remotely.
This is a normal – and even expected – experience for millennials. It’s only natural for this trend to carry over into their work life.
Here’s what businesses can do:
- Make certain parts of the job remote, such as writing, making sales calls, or answering support calls for customers
- Train management to manage workflow remotely
- Offer employees the ability to work remotely
Businesses must prepare for a downside: some employees are simply not mature enough to work remotely. However, remote work is becoming more common and will soon become expected.
Promote inclusion and diversity
Social media trends reveal millennials care deeply about inclusion and diversity in the workplace with hashtags like #EqualPay. This is, of course, a generalization since millennials have a range of opinions on these matters.
However, businesses should take note of a growing trend: companies are publicly condemned on social media for not practicing inclusion and diversity within their workplaces.
Even if a shamed company does well financially, millennials perceive it as an undesirable place to work. It looks bad on their resume if they worked for a business that isn’t inclusive or diverse.
It is not enough to provide job creation and job stability. Millennials want and expect businesses to practice inclusiveness and promote diversity in the workplace.
Millennials are a complex demographic and there’s still a lot to learn about them.
The business world is experiencing a significant shift in how people look for jobs and thrive in the workplace. This is largely due to millennials, who have different values and priorities in the workplace than previous generations.
For businesses to meet the needs of millennial workers, they will have to continue to research, study, and make appropriate changes.