HOW MILLENNIALS ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS
Today’s businesses thrive on talented individuals at all levels of the workforce. As a result, the attraction and retention of employees with the right skills, experience and aptitudes has become one of the main competitive tools for firms across the globe.
In particular, there is increasing evidence of a growing demand for millennials, namely those individuals born between 1980 and 1995 who have grown up with digital technology during the last two decades. There are currently around 14 million millennials in the UK yet many employers still have little understanding of this group despite the fact that they will be the future leaders in many organisations.
This lack of knowledge has been examined by a report from the accountants KPMG. “Meet the Millennials” explores the characteristics of those who grew up during a period of rapid change and, more importantly, how companies can attract and retain them.
According to the study, millennials are quite different to previous generations and identifying their qualities and attributes is important for potential employers.
For example, before undertaking any task, they need to know its value and how its fits into the bigger picture and are less afraid of challenging the system. They are also hungry for new challenges and, as a result, rarely stay in a job for more than three years.
Many are also familiar and comfortable with using all types of technology, having grown up during the digital revolution and, as the world has opened up, are not only tolerant of different cultures but will actively seek diversity in the workplace. Most important of all though is their desire for balance, especially between their personal and working lives.
So what are the key factors that ensures employers can attract this important part of the future talent pool into their organisations?
The first is organisational culture and millennials will, when looking for a new position, prioritise those companies that can demonstrate that they foster creativity and morale amongst their workforce.
They also want to enjoy their working experience and will not tolerate being stuck in a ‘boring’ job where they can take pleasure form what they do on a daily basis. Part of that is related to flexibility within the job, with many millennials wanting to have the option to control not only when they work but where they work, with work-life balance rated as one of the top factors when looking for a job. Given this, opportunities such as being able to work from home one day a week or being able to take time out to deal with personal commitments is a significant part of the organisational culture they seek.
Open and honest communications with their employers is important especially in terms of having their opinion matter within the organisation and that they are contributing to the overall strategic direction of the business. In addition, they want to feel appreciated by their employer and want to feel as though their day-to-day efforts are being noticed and one important way of doing this is by providing mentoring from day one.
However, the KPMG study suggests that the vast majority of millennials do not get the necessary support for developing their careers. Therefore, the introduction of mentoring programmes for millennials who have just started in their job will signal that their bosses see their development as a priority.
They also crave knowledge and employers need to ensure that there is a culture of continuous professional development that ensures these individuals are given the relevant opportunities for learning that will not only benefit them but also the business that employs them.
Millennials are known for having a stronger social conscience than previous generations and as a result, the social impact of the business they work for is increasingly important with two thirds expecting their employers to contribute to a social cause. This not only engages this important group of employees within the business but ensures that wider corporate social responsibility goals can be met.
They are also increasingly social and want to be able to connect with their co-workers both inside and outside of the office. In particular, they enjoy being part of a “work family” with the ability to network and stay connected.
Therefore, with millennials estimated to make up half of the World’s workforce by the end of this decade, understanding the needs of this group of workers will be key to the future of many businesses. Certainly, they are different to the baby boomers and Generation X that held their jobs before them and given this, organisations need to change their way of working if they are to successfully attract and retain these individuals for the success of the organisation going forward.