There’s a lot to be said about millennials, which officially became the largest generation in the workforce as of 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Avocado toast jokes aside, millennials represent more than just negative generational stereotypes. In the coming years, it will be important for companies in all industries to tailor their businesses to attracting and retaining the best millennial talent. At AdEdge, 41% of our own workforce identifies as millennial (born between 1977 and 1995). Reflective of the Pew Research Center analysis, they also comprise the largest generational group at our company.
Millennial talent, just as in previous generations, will be tasked with taking businesses forward into the future, so here are five things you should understand about them:
1. Millennials seek peer affirmation and feedback
As the generation to come of age during the era of Twitter, most millennials will want simple yet productive soundbytes of feedback at a time. It is no longer enough to simply play the roles of “boss” and worker” — millennials expect employers to offer mentoring opportunities and transparent environments that build trust in upper management. Millennials also look to a strong online social media presence and encouraging reviews on websites such as Glassdoor when considering employers.
2. Millennials value more than just a salary
Success can be more than just dollars and profits, and millennials take this seriously. They crave environments where creativity and growth are valued, and impacts are measured in more than just business terms. They will seek opportunities that allow them to feel like they make a difference in both the company and in the real world. This can include volunteering, mentoring and participating in community activities.
3. Millennials want more than basic work benefits
They seek compensation packages that are more comprehensive than just monetary incentives. Businesses should ensure they offer competitive benefits beyond the standard health insurance or retirement plans. Recent reports have labeled millennials as the generation of “burnouts” — meaning the various social, economic and technology-driven developments of today have made many persist in a consistent state of psychological burnout. Work/life balance is key to attract this new talent, and while some work environments may not be suited perfectly for a position where remote working is possible 24/7, flexibility can be an even bigger concern than pay for this generation.
4. Millennials crave a more social, collaborative environment
From happy hours to in-office gatherings, millennials will often want to be in an environment where professional relationships are friendly and engaging rather than cold and impersonal. As a diverse generation, they may seek to include more diversity and range into the office environments around them. While it is often suggested there is a hard, combative line between millennials and the baby boomers they may come into conflict with, businesses should be able to nurture a common ground for everyone to come together.
5. Millennials come hand-in-hand with technology
Companies will need to be competitive and invest in more start-of-the-art technology to attract millennial talent. Having come of age when personal computers and the World Wide Web started to become ubiquitous, millennials are accustomed to the quick tune of a chat or email and needing less face-to-face communication than previous generations. Collaboration is still important, however, and in-person or video meetings should be utilized efficiently to ensure even and transparent communication.