Industry News, Training & Development

What drives millennials? The answer might surprise you.

September 30, 2016


Are millennials the most misunderstood generation? That's up for debate, but we wouldn't be shocked if the majority of them feel this way. Numerous stereotypes exist - not all of them positive - but here are some clues as to what this generation is really about.

"Sixty percent of millennials desire positions that afford them the opportunity to grow."

A new Gallup report, "How Millennials Want to Work and Live," revealed that roughly 60 percent of millennials desire positions that provide them the opportunity to grow. That's right, millennials aren't always looking for more money when applying for a job. Often they want positions that aren't dead ends. On the contrary, only 44 percent of Gen Xers and baby boomers prefer career growth over financial stability.

"Millennials care deeply about their development when looking for jobs and - naturally - in their current roles," noted Amy Adkins and J. Rigoni of Gallup.

Companies that are more likely to accept and consistently address these desires have a great chance of recruiting and retaining millennial employees. After all, an engaged workforce is a happier workforce, and millennials, like other employees, are less likely to look for outside opportunities if they enjoy their jobs.

How can managers cater to millennials?
The first thing managers need to understand is why millennials want positions that offer career growth. The answer: Millennials want to make a difference in the world. Clocking in 9-5 every day for the rest of their working lives isn't an attractive proposition for them.

A study from Telefonica, which partnered with Financial Times, revealed that out of 12,171 respondents, 40 percent of millennials and 74 percent of millennial leaders believe they can make a difference in the world. Researchers noted that millennial leaders, specifically, were those who use technology to make changes.

Further, 63 percent of respondents said it's difficult for their generation to transition from school to the workplace, and nearly 40 percent say they'll have to keep working and fear that they won't have enough money for retirement. These are scary and telling statistics, which may indicate why millennials value professional growth opportunities.

What can your workplace do to assist millennials?
Don't be afraid to transform your workplace environment and make changes that specifically address the concerns of millennials. If your office is primarily staffed with millennials, provide them with more chances to grow professionally. These opportunities might include in-house training, paid tuition for classes related to their job, and other educational opportunities outside of the workplace.

To retain your best employees, it's critical you learn more about how generations really think and act. This will help you form a more complete and effective human resources strategy.

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