Millennials: What do we really want?
I’m termed as a Millennial.
I’ve lost count of the number of articles I’ve read telling me what my generation wants from the workplace. We constantly need to be connected. Our attention spans are shrinking. We’re wooed by employers offering clever tech and quirky perks.
It’s so easy to define a whole generation – but are we really all attracted to job opportunities and fulfilled at work by the same things?
I asked three of my fellow-Millennials at Hireserve for their thoughts.
Millennials want…technologies such as social networking, instant messaging and video-on-demand*
For us, the desire for technology is linked very much to our roles. Both Lewis and Anton are developers, so for them it’s essential to have up-to-date and powerful technology in order to do their jobs – to develop, communicate with international colleagues, and problem solve.
“My role would completely not exist without technology. Aspects like communicating bug tickets, working with customers in other locations or countries would be very difficult to do.”
– Anton, Front End Team Leader
“It is vital to use technology to communicate in my day-to-day role. Without software and technologies such as IM it would be extremely difficult to communicate problems and solutions.”
– Lewis, Junior Web Developer
Helen, who works in the Marketing team, looked at technology from another angle:
“I think mobiles and tablets are handy if you’re working on location, but in the working environment can be a little distracting. As much as ‘millennials’ supposedly love technology, it’s still important to set up boundaries between work and home/social life.” – Helen, Digital Marketing Apprentice
The key for all of us here at Hireserve is that technology is essential – but because it serves a purpose and helps to communicate and be better at our jobs, rather than being a flash perk.
Millennials want…a fun and engaging workplace**
I asked my colleagues what would first attract them to a job opportunity – and what they saw as the key to job satisfaction and engagement.
Helen said that she would be attracted to a job if the company culture seemed friendly, whilst Lewis and Anton both said that working with a diverse and skilled team would be important to them.
For us, the right company culture continues to be an essential component when attracting millennials – but as we know, a slide in the office and free food doesn’t necessarily result in a trusting, open and authentic company culture. Culture goes much deeper than that.
In terms of job satisfaction, trust and autonomy were key for Helen, Anton and Lewis (and for me too!).
“The most important thing is being able to create and build new things and have the chance to improve my software development skills in new areas and technologies. Creative freedom and autonomy would also be very important to me.” – Anton
Millennials want…flexible working***
We’ve said many times that flexible working needs to be more than simply a ‘perk’ and should be embedded within a company culture.
“I live quite a distance from work, so being able to work effectively remotely is very important to me. In general I think remote/flexible working culture is something that is going to become much more prevalent. Companies are realising that it gives them access to a wider pick of people and skills outside of their local area.” – Anton
“For me it is not hugely important to be able to work remotely. Flexibility is nice but is not hugely important to me as I like a good routine.” – Lewis
“It’s important to me that the place I work in understands that sometimes illness happens and sometimes the world works against you. I’ve worked in places before where I felt like they really distrusted their staff and didn’t allow for genuine problems.” – Helen
Here, our attitudes to flexible working are dependent on our personal circumstances and needs – and I think it is this that is the sticking point with the surveys, reports and stories that tell us what Millennials want from the workplace.
We may all be born between 1980 and 1999, and many of us are digital natives. But for each Millennial who communicates solely in emojis, there is another who still thumbs through a dictionary.
Lots of us do have different expectations to the generations before us in terms of technology and the ability to work remotely or flexibly – and I think that’s a positive development in terms of working ‘smarter not harder’, and maintaining a better work-life balance.
And lots of us Millennials are motivated by training or development opportunities over paycheques or monetary benefits, and are seeking careers that fulfil us and allow us to make a difference.
But we still all have different wants and needs when it comes to our careers. My message to employers is this: be authentic.
Not all of us want to work for Google. If you promote perks or make promises on your careers page that don’t translate in reality, we may feel let down within weeks of working for you. Promote your genuine company vision and values. Manage our expectations. Share your company culture with us. If the working environment is a quiet grey cubicle in a quiet grey office, it won’t appeal to all of us – but there will be people who’ll flourish in that environment.
Be authentic and you’ll attract people who are a right cultural fit for your organisation.
In Millennial terms – we’ll swipe right for you.
*Original article on HR Review.co.uk **Original article on City A.M.com ***Original article on HR Grapevine.com
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