Millennials get it. They’re the newcomers in the workplace. They’ve been portrayed in media as flighty, spoiled kids whose main career motives are driven by remote work possibilities and murdering well-established yet failing industries. However, as it turns out, they value more than office snacks, bean bag chairs, and ping-pong tables when it comes to the workplace.
Don’t get me wrong; the perks offered at many startups are a great bonus. But that’s all they are: a bonus. Whether they’re part of a founding team or starting out at entry-level positions, millennials expect more from their potential employers.
Prioritizing bonus perks over actual business experience isn’t helping any companies connect with millennials entering the workspace. Millennials are currently the largest generation in the American workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s what they’re actually looking for.
Millennials are tech-savvy and don’t have trouble solving small problems via Google or specific apps. They’re looking for unique challenges in the workplace to develop and test their critical thinking. It’s not difficult to follow an instruction manual for any given process. But what about discovering new processes that save time? They take pride in being anti-traditional and building new departments and channels for revenue. It’s best for employers to take advantage of this while helping their employees grow.
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Millennials know timing is important and are often trying to meet the right people in every department. The intention behind making new contacts isn’t to jump ship; having a healthy Rolodex is beneficial to employees and their employers.
When possible, millennials want to sit in on meetings and travel with founders. When the right opportunity presents itself, invite your employees to events. Every present team member allows for the chance to make a new introduction that could turn into a potential partnership. The relationships built along the way are invaluable.
While it’s nice to have couches and beanbags, our office is not our home. Most millennials don’t like being confined to a 9-to-5 schedule. They’re goal-oriented: They measure their performance on the final output, not how many hours they punched in the process.
It’s simply not possible for most office employees to work for nine hours straight. People get distracted, time is wasted, potential isn’t reached. If you’re reading this in your office right now, you’ve proven my point. Employers who allow flexible schedules and sufficient vacation days, as well as prioritize performance over attendance, are likely to have the happiest (and most productive) team. It’s been a win-win situation at our company.
This last one tends to be a difficult subject. It’s not always easy for senior employees or C-level executives to immediately show millennials respect in the workplace. Surprisingly, this doesn’t only involve entry-level millennials. Even directors and founding team members can find themselves subjected to the negative effects of ageism. I personally believe that long-term respect should be earned. But that doesn’t mean that everyone shouldn’t be on an even playing field from the start.
Millennials are usually emotionally intelligent and pick up on subtle cues: If they don’t feel like they’re being taken seriously, they’ll likely feel less motivated to excel in their role. Ask them for their opinions about high-level decisions, and actually listen to what they say. Keep them posted on new updates and partnerships as they happen. These are simple changes that could make a real difference.
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