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What do Millennials Really Want at Work?

Employment Branding Recruiting Strategy

Millennials are likely the most dissected generation of all time. We know they’re ethnically diverse, less religious than past generations and very open minded. But as HR professionals what we really want to know is, what do they want in the workplace?

To help target your recruiting efforts and hone in on Millennials, we’ve compiled a few overarching characteristics about them and their workplace wants that will help ease your hiring, all while giving them a more fulfilling work experience.

They want to work for the greater good.

Research from Deloitte indicates that of the nearly 8,000 Millennials it surveyed, 75 percent believed that businesses are too focused on their own agendas rather than striving to make an impact on society. Additionally, Great Place to Work reported that over 50 percent of Millennials were influenced to accept a job based on a company’s involvement with a cause.

Time and time again, Millennials have indicated that they care about social issues and causes greater than themselves. While you can’t instantly involve your company with a non-profit and instill passion for that initiative throughout the company, there is something you can do. Throughout the interview process, learn about what your Millennial candidate is passionate about and find ways they can channel that in your current work environment. Make them aware of any existing volunteer opportunities, offer them the ability to start one of their own or provide resources to help them pursue a passion that aligns with your business or customers.

They want to do something big.

Only 28 percent of Deloitte’s surveyed Millennials reported feeling that their current place of work was fully utilizing their skills. Another 53 percent aspire to become the leader or executive within their current place of work. This goes against a common Millennial “myth” that they hop around from job to job with no real investment in their employer.

Millennials may be young but they are serious about their careers. In 2013, Joel Stein with Time magazine famously called Millennials, “lazy, entitled narcissists,” yet in the same breath admitted, “they will save us all.” Despite the frequent accusations of narcissism and entitlement, Millennials are driven toward success and trailblazing the unchartered digital world they have come of age in. Be aware of Millennials’ ambition from the get-go. Don’t assume they are not “here to stay” and be sure to communicate ways in which they will be able to grow personally and professionally with your organization. Learn about their skills and demonstrate ways in which they can utilize these to realize their full potential.

They want to be social.

It’s obvious that Millennials are highly present on social media. Another aspect of their hyper-social behavior this is their trust in user generated content (UGC). This doesn’t necessarily mean a homemade YouTube video or post, but simply anything created by a consumer or person as opposed to a company. According to BazaarVoice, 84 percent of Millennials reported that UGC contributed “some” or “a lot” to their purchase decisions. 51 percent even stated that recommendations from strangers were likely to affect their purchase decisions.

This goes to show that Millennials trust their peers and care about what they have to say. In the same vein, Millennials typically have strong loyalty to their coworkers, often indicating work for their small team to be more valuable and meaningful than individual work for the company. When hiring Millennials, highlight opportunities to work in teams toward common goals. Additionally, be sure to focus on your hiring strategy. Working to hire full teams who have goals that align well with the company’s will be much more effective in the long term than simply hiring individuals who can do the job.

Navigating new generations in the workplace is not an easy task, and it’s never smart to completely reimagine a hiring strategy based on who is working for you. What’s most important is aligning your hiring strategy to business goals and selecting employees who will reinforce that strategy. Millennial or not, the common thread across all five generations in the workplace is people’s desire for open communication, a good fit for their goals and an authentic company to work for. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel for every hire, simply focus on the employees your organization needs and alter your approach to fit the individual.

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