“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.” – Warren G. Bennis
There’s a lot of buzz around the Millennial generation today, which is generally considered those born between 1980 and 2000. And with thousands of baby boomers retiring out of the workforce on a daily basis, rightfully so. But, if you are in a leadership position and not a Millennial, it can be difficult to figure out what they really want from an employer. So, as someone with a Millennial daughter and around 10 Millennials on our team, here’s my attempt at cracking the code on what Millennials want in an ideal workplace.
1. Mentorship. It’s clear that Millennials aren’t looking for a boss, they’re looking for a mentor. Part of the reason being that Millennials had a different relationship with their parents growing up than previous generations. They often look at themselves as peers to the world as opposed to subordinates who have to earn their way. So, instead of top-down hierarchy, they’re looking for mentors. They’re looking for people who can help guide them on their journey, not just tell them what to do. Make sure you have that resource available to them and they will thrive.
2. Flexibility. This generation grew up with the internet, with social media, with cell phones at an early age. They don’t know what it’s like to not be connected at all times. For this reason, they also don’t understand the need to sit at a desk Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Millennials want the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time of the day (or night.) As long as they are available to their teams and meeting deadlines in a way that exceeds expectations, they want the ability to determine their own schedule. Now, this isn’t always possible for every leader to work with, but it is something important to keep in mind when leading this group.
3. Social Good. Millennials are in full-support of businesses making a substantial profit as long as there’s a social good component. It’s the idea of buying glasses that help a child in need see or buying shoes that equate to a pair of shoes for someone who is barefoot. When these opportunities are available, why would they choose a company that doesn’t have a charitable purpose? Millennials want to know that they are doing good and changing the world, especially when it comes to their employer.
[bctt tweet=”Millennials don’t want to feel like another cog in the wheel. They want to be a part of something greater than themselves.” username=”ronkitchens”]
4. Diversity. Millennials want to work with diverse people. This generation loves working at places like Starbucks because you get to mix it up with different people all the time. They want a sense of connectivity to their community. This desire to be surrounded with diversity is true of wanting to work with multiple generations too. They do not want to be segregated or lumped in with all of the other twenty-somethings. They want to collaborate with and be around team members who aren’t just like themselves. This is surely the most open and inclusive generation ever, and they want their work environment to reflect that.
5. Impact. Millennials want to have impact now. They don’t want to sit in a role for 20 years only then to have the opportunity to lead. Great companies should empower Millennials to have ownership of their role and create success immediately. They don’t want to feel like another cog in the wheel. They want to be a part of something greater than themselves. This generation is looking for opportunities to make a difference that are real and meaningful. If they don’t find it with you, they will create it elsewhere. Gone are the days of working for one organization for 40+ years.
How can you better attract and retain Millennials in your teams? Believe it or not, the success of your organization may depend on it in the very near future.
Question: What other desires have you seen from Millennials in your spheres of influence? How can we adapt our workplaces and cultures to make them “work” for this generation?