on the skills they learn and the education available. If they
are not constantly learning new skills, they will cut short
Closely tied to the need for constant training is an
expectation of inclusion and the ability to provide feedback.
Ask your Millennials what is important to them and you
will gain real-time insight into issues like management, salary,
benefits, and work-life balance.
A recent YPulse survey found that "76% of Millennials would rather have a career they are passionate about
but doesn’t earn a lot of money than have a high earning
career that they are not passionate about."
This jives with my observations. Millennial employees
want to understand their direct impact on the company’s
success. If they don't feel a personal connection to their
work, they'll see it as a temporary way to put food on the
table and pay the rent while they look for something that's
more meaningful to them. If you're frustrated by your Millennial employees putting in just what's asked and no more,
it may well be that they're not seeing anything in the job or
the company that inspires their best efforts.
Work individually with employees to craft a job that
will deeply engage their interests and provide meaning. I've
seen Millennials go from “not engaged” to “highly engaged”
once they were paired with work that they were passionate about doing well. They want to understand what the
company does, and to like and believe in its services or
I’ve heard it expressed this way: “you can think all you
want that Millennials shouldn’t be obsessed with finding
meaning in their work – but that won't change the fact that
they are obsessed about it.” Companies that acknowledge
this and act accordingly will have the best chances at engaging and retaining employees across age brackets.
When it comes to work-life balance, few topics are
more divisive than the issue of workplace flexibility. Workplace flexibility is the new normal in the U.S., especially
when almost 40 percent of the US workforce works from
home and 15 percent of these employees are working full-time, according to Gallup.
Modern technology allows employees to communicate
remotely so team members can work together from differ-
ent locations. Millennials have likely heard about companies
that allow employees to negotiate their work hours as
long they still finish all their work. If you aren’t one of those
companies, you may fall behind.
Given the immense benefits of being able to cut down
on commute time, tailoring work schedules and putting in
more productive, more engaged hours on the job, it is critical for companies to fully embrace telecommuting and also
offer up workplace flexibility if they want to retain their
talent -- especially female employees.
More Magazine asked women the following question in
2011: If you could have one of the following which would
• A promotion
• A raise
• Another week of vacation
• Flexibility in your day
The overwhelming response was flexibility during the day.
Seventy-five percent of college-educated women aged
thirty-five to sixty would rather have more free time in
their lives than make more money at their jobs. In fact, 40
percent would even take a pay cut for more flexibility.
Because they see work as an integral part of the life
they're trying to build for themselves, they -- unlike previous generations -- are largely unwilling to let the demands
of work negatively impact the life they want. The same
YPulse survey referenced earlier noted that "77% of millennials feel they can be more productive with flexible
schedules and 84% are 'always connected' and continue
to check their work email after leaving for the day. They
want to be trusted to get the work done but they’ll do it
when they feel the time is right.
Organizations that want to attract and keep the best
Millennial and/or female workers, may have to re-think their
policies about when and how work gets done. They must
be willing to try out new approaches to getting the business results that the organization needs.
Boomers tend to complain that Millennials have unrealistic expectations about career progression. The fact of the
matter is, Millennials are looking for challenge, and it is their
manager’s job to help them understand what challenges are
realistic for them to take on at their level. When a manager
takes the time to define reasonable challenges for their Mil-