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Listen Now: Millennials in the workforce and what we can learn from them

The days of a structured work environment with designated times for breaks and lunch seem to be fading away. Even the atmosphere of offices is changing. Many companies are incorporating bright, cheerful colors into the workplace and creating more lounge areas or private rooms for employees.

Some companies even have gyms and showers, not to mention coffee shops, complete with baristas. In part, we have millennials to thank for this. They’re changing the landscape of companies today.

What millennials expect in a workplace

This generation wants and demands things that previous generations would never have dreamed of asking for. Of course, technology is playing a role in this, allowing some employees to work remotely.

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Like some other generations, millennials have experienced high unemployment levels due to The Great Recession. As a result, it has cast doubt on a bright economic future and has changed millennials’ attitude about the workforce. This group of young people has a set of demands, and it’s nothing like previous generations. 

One survey shows the ability to telecommute is important to this age group along with unlimited vacation, no performance reviews, and even gym memberships. 

Millennials want to be part of a team and not treated as an individual. They don’t like performance reviews and want flexibility and mobility to shift careers within the same company. They like interconnectedness.

Researchers at Florida International University find it’s important for millennials to do work that’s meaningful and creative. They like instant feedback.

When it comes to training, research also shows they relate best to YouTube as a way to learn. They prefer text, email, social media as a preferred way of communication followed by a phone call and in-person conversation.

By 2020, there’ll be 86 million millennials in the workplace and 40 percent of the total workplace population will be millennials,” said Jonathan Weber, senior counsel with a Global 300 technology company. “So any changes that are being brought by millennials are significant and need to be factored in through changes in enterprises and how companies recruit people and do their work.”

“So any changes that are being brought by millennials are significant and need to be factored in through changes in enterprises and how companies recruit people and do their work.”

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Weber also said millennials are looking for three key factors in the workplace: flexibility, mobility and interconnectedness. They also want a company to invest in them so constant development and training is important.

Millennials want help and training in a job so they can develop their skills but they want it more in a mentoring type way where the mentor is acting as a project leader, not a boss.

Why the change?

“I think one is that millennials have grown up at a time where they’ve seen a lot of significant change, especially with technology, and they’ve seen how that has affected work in traditional jobs, large companies and corporations, the Great Recession,” explained Weber.

“They saw what happened to millions upon millions of people who dedicated their lives to a specific role at a company. They saw what happened and decided we don’t want that to happen us. Things need to be looked at a little differently. With that, the idea is there has to be a greater purpose than just profit.”

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Since technology is changing so quickly, companies who want to keep up the pace need to find people with the relevant skills. If you’re static with your skill set, you’ll become irrelevant very quickly. So millennials see this as a way for them to call the shots a little more.

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