The large group of active engineers, scientists, data scientists, software developers, team leaders, managers, artists, entrepreneurs, various professionals, educators, leaders, innovators and experts in their chosen fields, who started working professionally some time in the last 5 to 15 years, are the millennials. They are the ones at the forefront of their chosen disciplines who are driving the change in today’s world.
It is a known psychological fact that we are in many ways a product of our times. Here in India, we have heard of generation gaps between those born in the era of the British rule and their progeny. The well spoken-of and heard-of generation gap has also been a source and cause of conflict between generations, and it continues to this day. It is a product of the times and no modern generation has been spared it. It has to be taken into account by modern day humans as an inseparable part of daily practical modern life, be it professional or domestic.
Till It Clicks
took a survey of the generation that is now the young and dynamic skilled workforce which has started working in the corporate offices around the world in the last decade or so. It is they who are shaping and are going to shape the world from what they found it to be, to what they want it to be. They are a force to reckon with and no employer can afford to ignore their ideas, aspirations, expectations, preferences and priorities.
We collated all the data we gathered from the survey into the most common 9 categories. They are as follows:
A healthy work life
Millennial employees want a healthy work environment. They expect good facilities in the office building, and stress-free working conditions. They want a work culture which is balanced by fun activities like pizza parties, team building activities, small breaks in the course of work which could have games to rejuvenate and refresh themselves, which would naturally increase productivity. They expect a work driven, merit based work culture, a friendly environment free from internal politics. They expect a workplace where the employees’ work is valued above all. Millenials want a good, positive environment to work in, where the employee is treated as if they really matter to the company as someone who adds value to the company. They want to make time for their hobbies and have well earned vacations from time to time.
Millenials want money. They are very well aware of the enormous amounts of money they have spent on their education, to get where they are now, qualification wise, and they want a return of their investment in full and more. They look at a good salary in return for dedicated work as a motivational factor. The millennials are arguably the hardest working generation and they want a just appreciation of their work. They are attracted by the idea of a prosperous social lifestyle, a good pay scale, travelling abroad once in a while, a home well equipped with technological facilities. They are not going to sell themselves short.
Millennial employees do not take their careers lightly. They are willing to work hard, expecting to work longer in their lives. They want challenges in their work life and also value stability. They want flourishing careers. Their expensive educations have given them confidence and ambition to look at their careers more proactively than earlier generations. They value their careers an important aspect of their lives and more than just a means of livelihood.
The millennial generation wants work satisfaction. They are prepared to be choosy and selective about their work. They value respect and well earned comfort. Before they choose to work for a company they do like to know of the prospects of their rise to the top. Being in more responsible positions gives them a sense of self worth. Many millennials care a lot about the world they live in. They like to choose lifestyles with value systems like reducing carbon footprint with respect to global warming, veganism, minimalism, spiritual practice, etc. They want to work for companies that have a value system, companies that believe in giving something back to the world. Working for such companies gives them an immense sense of work satisfaction.
Learning and Exposure
Millennial employees want exposure to a learning environment. They want new learning opportunities to give them a sense of growth and newness, an intellectual satisfaction. They want to work with dedicated teams led by knowledgeable seniors, trainers, leaders, who will willingly pass on their experience to juniors. They want to work with new technologies, innovative software development, different kinds of clients, different cultures, and also look forward to opportunities to travel to new places.
Among their other priorities, millenials look for job security. They want a secure, stable job in a reliable company that isn’t going to fold up soon. The 21st century has seen many ups and downs in the corporate world and the millennials are cautious about the uncertainty that corporate companies are prone to. A company that is known for giving out pink slips randomly isn’t likely to retain millennial employees. The socio-economic landscape has changed a lot in their times and millennials are anxious to at least retain the lifestyle that their well-to-do parents have built for them, and which they are used to since their childhoods. They want to go a few steps ahead of their parent generation.
Freedom of work / Flexibility
As much as they seem to value job security, millennials also look for flexible working hours. They do not want their work schedules to be a shackle that restricts their life experience, and which allows for no variations whatsoever. They also want to have the option of working remotely. Going to the office for work they can do more happily from home seems unreasonable to them. Provided they deliver, what does it matter where they work from is what they think. Also, being able to work from the comfort of their homes beats travelling for a couple of hours to the office through gruelling traffic jams.
Millennial employees are well aware of their educational qualifications and their market value. They treasure their talent and want to know how their talents are being used by the company. They expect their employers to be reasonably transparent with them. Office politics is a big disappointing factor for them. They want value initiatives like fair, 360 degree performance appraisals, peer reviews, reverse mentoring, etc. They want to know who is promoted and why. A company that has internal politics as an integral part of their work culture is not an attractive place at all. Millennials spend a major part of their lives in the office and they detest working in diseased environments. Clean, clear and reasonable policies and treatment will keep them in the company.
Identity and recognition
Millenials value their talents and skills, are willing to learn, are very confident and are dynamic enough and decisive enough to build their work life accordingly, in the light of their self assurance. They are well qualified and they want their talent’s worth. They want to be valued for their talents and their dedication. They don’t want to be treated as if they were easily replaceable. They like to think they are special and are well assured of their dependability. If they realize that their talents are well valued in the company, they will be likely to stick around longer.
So, here they are – the millennial employees in a nutshell.
It will be obvious from this survey that millennials have a strong personality. A healthy work life free from internal politics or any kind of prejudice, characterized by an honest, healthy appreciation of talent and dedicated work is what they look forward to. They want to get rid of orthodox ideas about work and believe that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. They want a vibrant workplace that isn’t just a place where you punch the keys and accept the checks, but an alive environment which gives them a sense of having an enjoyable life. They want a workplace which values its employees as human beings, and not a mechanical work force to be exploited for the company’s benefit. It is a healthy enjoyable work environment that they think will increase productivity and not relentless managers driving them towards deadlines. The millenials are well aware that they have enough choice of employment and are not shy to exercise it.
The general picture that the survey paints is one of a fun loving, self assured, demanding generation that is considerably more street smart than their predecessors. Thanks to social media, their perception cannot be easily controlled by the powers that be. The millenials know the technological world very well, even better than their college teachers. They can very well envisage the future of technology and have a very good sense of where the world is headed, technology-wise. They will not hesitate to change jobs. They will assert their priorities, whatever they may be. They want to have fun where they work and will not settle for a dull work culture. They want to learn and grow in a work environment that is at least as employee centric as it is mission centric.
Employers around the world had better sit up and take notice. The millennials aren’t pushovers.