What Makes Millennials Want to Work at your Organization?

Image: What Makes Millennials Want to Work at your Organization?

Not a week goes by when a client or prospective client doesn’t speak about their need to improve how they recruit, retain and engage Millennial employees. We have launched our national survey on Gen Z and the data will be coming in next week, so I am very excited to learn more about the next cohort and how their values and expectations of work may differ from Millennials.  But for now, the focus is still on ensuring organizations of all sizes can tap into the top talent they need to be successful, especially Millennials.

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent

Most leaders understand that attracting and retaining talent is crucial. However, when it comes to Millennials, it’s often not as simple as just offering the largest salary or most impressive job title. Millennials are looking for more from organizations than just money and status. Of course, they do want to be paid fairly for their work and recognized for a job well done, but those aren’t the only desires this cohort has.

By understanding what Millennials are looking for in an organization, leaders can better develop strategies to attract and retain Millennial talent.

Millennials Care About an Organization’s Social Impact

Millennials want to work for organizations that they admire, and the ones that they admire are those that care about more than just the bottom line.

A report from public relations firm Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that 56 percent of Millennials say that CEOs and business leaders need to engage in social issues more often today than they have in the past. This is compared to 36 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of Baby Boomers who feel the same way.

The same survey found that 47 percent of Millennials believe that CEOs have the responsibility to speak up on social issues, while only 28 percent of those in older generations believe the same.

Millennials Want to Be Proud of the Organization They Work For

The Millennial cohort is also interested in working for “socially acceptable” organizations. According to a survey by Morning Consult Intelligence, the employers most admired by Millennials are organizations such as Google, Walt Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, and Apple.  When asked why, the survey found “These are the brands people are seeing or interacting with on their phone. And they’re socially acceptable. If they’re at a party, people will know the brands and they’ll be the cool person to talk to in the room.

The survey also found that a larger share of Millennials would be proud to work for their generation’s most admired employers, when compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. This shows that when Millennials choose to work for an organization they admire, they take a lot of pride in doing so and their emotional connect to the organization is high.

Millennials Want Flexibility

I have written a lot about the desire for Millennials to have a flexible work environment, however, many organizations still struggle with how to execute on their flexible work policies.  Millennials have grown up in a world where they can order anything they want from their phones, conduct banking online in the middle of the night, and do work from nearly anywhere with an internet connection. They don’t see why they have to sit at a desk between 9am and 5pm to be considered “working.”

A survey by FlexJobs found that 81 percent of Millennials want flexibility in their jobs and 34 percent have left a job because the employer did not offer flexible work options.  This is trend that isn’t going away and I suspect this expectations of employers will continue with the next generation – Gen Z.

What Organizations Can Do

As a leader, what can you do to make your organization more attractive to Millennials? Looking at the research, we know that an organization’s reputation matters.  Your employer brand on campus, online and in the marketplace will have a significant impact on whether or not you can attract the top  Millennial talent you desire.

Millennials want to work for an employer that is socially responsible, that cares about more than just profit, and that is “cool.” How can you achieve this? Your organization can start by conveying how the work you do benefits society as a whole. By showcasing what you do to help others, Millennials will be naturally attracted to your organization and curious about how they can add value and contribute.

How you treat customers and current team members also goes a long way to establishing your reputation. Millennials talk about their experiences with organizations, in person, on social media, and on various other platforms online. If Millennials feel slighted by your organization, they will make their voices heard and these voices will travel.  This generation are incredible viral marketers, which can help or hinder your brand. Organizations with a history of caring about customers and those who work for them will have better ‘reviews’ online, and will be more likely to attract Millennial talent.

Finally, offering flexibility is important. Not all organizations will be able to let people work from home or set their own schedules. Phones need to be answered, and customers need to be spoken to, so in some cases being in the office during standard working hours is required. That said, leaders can still offer some flexibility by offering rolling start times, occasional remote work, summer schedules, and more.

Millennials will even appreciate the flexibility to be able to run errands during the day, with the understanding that there are still standards to be followed and performance goals to be reached. In fact, many Millennials will be fine with responding to work emails on evenings and weekends, if they are also allowed some flexibility for personal purposes during the day.  Recruiting Millennials is about creating a win-win relationship that is focused on how working for your organization will align with a Millennial candidate’s values and expectations and will contribute positively to the team, department and organizational success.

Giselle Kovary

As president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., Giselle is dedicated to building strategies and programs that target, motivate and engage a multigenerational workforce. She is a sought after resource to industry leaders, having worked with 18 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Over 60,000 people globally have experienced an n-gen workshop or presentation. She has devoted more than fifteen years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance. Giselle has co-authored two books: Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills. She has a Master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor.

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