The infamous millennial generation will make up almost half of the US workforce by 2020; is your business ready? Last year they even surpassed Generation X as the largest labor share in the US. And everyday more boomers retire while millennials enter the workforce.
The wave has arrived.
Despite the massive numbers, this generation is often misunderstood. Where the older generations quickly brand millennials as lazy, self-absorbed, and in need of immediate gratification, we predict that looking back 50 years from now, millennials may be known as the most influential generation of all time.
Let’s take a deeper look in understanding this generation and how to successfully plan for them.
Who Are Millennials?
Millennials make up around 80 million young adults born between 1980 and 2000, and they are a force of nature. They know what they want, and they don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t have it… immediately.
Millennials are the most diverse generation yet, but oddly enough they have a lot in common all around the world.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that this millennial generation has been shaped by life-long connectivity, 9/11, texting, and the recession.
What do they have in common?
- They’re optimistic and stand up for social change
- Authenticity (personally, in the workplace, or as a brand) is a prime identity value
- They are more tolerant of different races and groups than older generations
- They are multi-taskers, switching from task to task with incredible speed
- They’re social and connected, with 75% creating social media profiles (hence the self-absorbed commentary)
- They’ve mastered self-expression. Over ⅓ have tattoos, and ¼ have piercings somewhere other than an earlobe. (You can google the rest of that one yourself.)
- They’re obsessed with tech to the point that 80% of them sleep with their phone right next to their bed
- They think independently, or at least they think they think independently,. with 13% moving back in with their parents after living on their own.
Want to dive deeper into the fascinating minds of millennials? Check out the full millennial statistics report.
What Millennials Care About in a Position
Just like if you were expanding your operations into another country, you need to understand how to recruit, train, and retain within the millennial culture norms.
So what exactly do millennials want?
- Lots of involvement. Get ready for questions, questions, questions. In fact, it will probably get annoying. Your millennial employees will be constantly pushing back for more information, but try to contain your irritation. They do this because they care. While your other employees are probably scrambling to stay under the radar, millennials want to get in the game. Keep them happier by increasing transparency.
- Big time flexibility. What kind of flexibility you’re wondering? All of it. Anywhere that you can give them an inch of flexibility, they probably expect it. Think casual wardrobe, work from home policies, flexible hours, and BYOD tech programs. Nothing will make them jump ship faster than rigid rules and strict policies.
- Being a part of something bigger than themselves. Culture is a crucial part of the millennial mindset. They want to be a part of something bigger than what they could achieve alone. You’ll see a lot of big weird ideas; embrace it. In other words, your company must have a young, fun and interactive culture. Kind of like scoping out new neighborhoods when you’re starting a family, millennials seek out fun playgroups of people their age to hang with at work
- Inclusion. Millennials absolutely hate being left out. They hate it so much they even coined the term “Fear Of Missing Out”, or FOMO. Yes that is a real thing. Just like they want more transparency, millennials want to be included in more too. While your other employees might do anything to avoid another meeting, you’ll probably notice your millennial employees showing up for ones they weren’t even invited to.
- Technology, technology, technology. Get ready for the eye roll of a lifetime if your tech is out of date. Millennials want the newest technology gadgets and programs at their place of work. Better yet, have a BYOD program and let them choose their own.
- Social interaction. Nothing scares a millennial more than a quiet moment of solitude. They need to be connected and doing something at all times. How else would they keep up with their Instagram posts and Snapchats? If you’re blocking social access at your place of work, take into consideration that 64% of millennials ask about social media policies during job interviews.
Millennials are NOT like every other one of your workers, and if you treat them that way, you’ll lose them. Start adjusting your business for the millennial mindset, and get ready to bear hug this crazy generation.