Fortune magazine’s 2016 list of “The Best 100 Companies to Work For” is out, and those companies are racing to hire Millennials.
Note the change since 12 or so years ago when the first Millennials graduated from college and entered the workforce. Boomers and GenXers were quick to stereotype the new generation of workers, describing them as entitled, self-centered, impatient to “pay their dues” and obsessed with technology.
While they provided ample evidence for those early negative assessments, companies have learned that Millennials have plenty of positive qualities as well—a good thing since they are now the largest generation in the workforce. Consider that Millennials …
- are the most educated generation in history.
- value work but see it as only one aspect of a fully integrated life.
- refuse to see time commitments to family and friends as a lack of dedication to their work.
- demand a work environment that is flexible and humanizing.
- believe their lives and opinions are important and should be respected, not dismissed.
- are digital natives with tech-savvy skills who can drive efficiencies and reach new markets beyond the analogue world.
Maybe the most important thing about Millennials: They want to know “why?” For them, it’s not enough to be told to do something. They want to know the purpose behind the work. That’s part of our humanness—our God-given quest for meaning and purpose that should drive organizations to more purposeful, value-driven work.
Writing for Fortune magazine, Claire Groden offers advice to companies who want to attract and keep the best and brightest of this younger generation who want to work differently and won't wait around for things to change.
1. Forget the 9-to-5 schedule.
Create flexibility. Ninety-five percent of millennial workers say work-life balance was important.
2. Offer training resources.
Two-thirds of Millennials expect to leave their current employers by 2020. The big reason: lack of leadership development they need for their careers.
3. Don’t wait for the next annual review for feedback.
Millennials want feedback tied to project completion, not calendars.
4. Give them purpose beyond the bottom line.
Millennials flourish in work where a clear purpose for both the organization and society at large is easily in view.
For six in ten Millennials, “sense of purpose” was part of their calculation in accepting their current jobs; almost half say they've declined to perform assignments at work that contradict their values, according to a 2016 Deloitte survey.
5. Perks matter.
Silicon Valley is known for perks like nap rooms, free food, and pets-are-welcome policies. Such amenities speak to what Millennials value. They want to know they are part of a tightly-knit team of people who are appreciated, who work well together and who feel responsible for one another.
For generations, the workplace has squeezed people into what it wanted them to be rather than asking how people work best. Millennials may well help us gain more humanizing work.