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Millenials: Who are they?

Millennials: Who do they think they are?! I’m a Millennial, and even I don’t know!

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Does your business speak Millennial? If not, you better start learning fast! Deloitte note in their most recent Millennial Survey, and rightfully so, that Millennials – or Generation Y depending on your inclination – are no longer the leaders of tomorrow, but of today. That’s NOW, therefore we need to adjust our business principles in order to attract this new generation to your business. The most significant change is that these young whipper snappers no longer see money as the pull factor it once was, and instead, prioritise other forms of remuneration. So who are these Millennials and what do they search for when looking for employment?

Even though the exact years are up for debate, Millennials are individuals born between and around the years of 1980 and 2000, and these individuals as stated by PwC will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020. In recent times however, not everyone sees this part of the workforce in such positive light. Some words being thrown around the ‘linguisphere’ include selfish, lazy, entitled, and impatient. The list goes on! This has led to hostility from Boomers and Generation X believing that Millennials should have to “pay their dues” as they did when they first began work.

So what are this generation good for? Well they are technologically more literate than any other previous generation, they are more adept at conducting research and analysis, and they are more comfortable with working as part of a team. Furthermore, Millennials bring a certain enthusiasm and drive to companies that cannot be learned, so much so that many of today’s most successful companies were started by Millennials. Would Facebook be as successful if it had not been started by Zuckerberg, a Millennial?

What is even more worrisome for businesses is that according to Bentley University, 66% of Millennials would like to, at some point in their life, to start their own business. So how on earth do you incentivise those who, in an ideal world, would rather start their own business? Well you make them feel as though it is their business and that they have the ability to influence and change it.

Taking LinkedIn as an example, even though the company may have been founded by a member of Generation X, they understand that millennials are critical to the success of the company. With one of Linkedin’s values being “act like an owner,” it makes perfect sense that they successfully attract and retain talent. Before even getting to any of LinkedIn’s internal policies this gives prospective employees the belief that they can influence the company. This feeling is strengthened within the company with policies such as unlimited holiday (in line with business needs), “InDays” which involves giving employees one day a month to pursue personal projects, and InCubator which gives employees the opportunity to pitch ideas to executives. Even though these policies appear fairly cosmetic, at first glance, they speak to Millennials because of the fact that they care deeply about their work and want to feel appreciated. Doesn’t everyone?!

Characterising all of the above into one fundamental desire is a monumental task, however I won’t back down from such a task (after all I am a Millennial)! Consequently, I would suggest that Millennials prioritise work-life balance over any other factor. I propose Millennials desire “work-life integration” above all else. The rationale behind this proposition is that Millennials care more about their personal and social life than their work life. This claim is supported by a survey stating that 42% of respondents would rather not be working at all rather than be in a job that they hate. Therefore, businesses need to integrate employee’s personal and social life into the work of the organisation itself in order to both attract and retain individuals from this section of society.

Do you have any policies in your business similar to these? If so, or even if not, let us know in the comments section below.

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