It’s the dawning of the age of millennials, and companies are encountering new challenges when attracting, engaging, and retaining this unique, technologically-savvy generation of workers.
The millennial generation came of age in the digital era and is now entering the workforce en masse. Millennials are slated to comprise nearly half (46%) of all U.S. workers by 2020, and this is greatly complicating the job of human resource managers, many of whom are generation X-ers or baby boomers. When thinking about millennial talent, most people imagine notorious job-hoppers looking for companies with ping-pong tables or a beer cart. But, perhaps, millennials are more nuanced than many give them credit for.
We polled a handful of millennials to get a sense of what makes them want to stay rooted at a company.
Here are their thoughts:
“Here's what I want in a job: money. That's why I work. I work to provide my talents and resources for a company in exchange for their resources, a.k.a money. I don't want to be patronized by anything else simply because I'm a millennial. I don't think it's trendy or cool to offer anything else – if a company can peel off that cold, hard cash then we will talk.” – James Pollard, Marketing Consultant for Financial Advisors at TheAdvisorCoach.com
2. Remote Work Flexibility
“As a 2nd-gen immigrant from the Philippines, traveling back and forth between different countries has always been a big part of my life. My entire family now lives in Asia, and it’s hard to see them as frequently as I’d like to when the standard vacation time in the U.S. for an employee is two weeks of PTO. That being said, finding a company that allows me to work remotely (should the need arise) is a huge incentive for me to stay loyal to that company. I think it’s more common now to see millennials looking for positions that allows that kind of travel flexibility. Obviously, don’t abuse it – but it’s nice to know that if there’s an emergency and I need to hightail it back home to Asia for a few days, I can still contribute remotely and work on my campaigns.” – Nicola Yap, Organic Marketing Strategist at Eminent SEO
“Despite the reputation of frivolity that millennials suffer from, entering the workforce during the recession imparted to many of us the desire for security and opportunity which was not available at that time. As such, due to the astronomical cost of health care in the U.S., medical insurance is perhaps one of the largest retention factors when it comes to hiring millennials. As times change, however, ideological factors also play an increasingly large role in employee loyalty. Companies like Target, Starbucks, and Whole Foods, who not only provide medical coverage but are also involved in community outreach, donate to various charities, and engage in environmentally responsible business practices, are increasingly attractive employment options.” – Claire Goodwin, Office Manager, Joseph Farzam Law Firm
“What attracts me to a job? Passion! I once took a $10k pay cut because I wanted to follow my heart and work at a place that lined up with my personal passions. I value the work I do and base my decision of where I work on how much I will enjoy my job and if I’ll have the opportunity to grow. Later in life I want to look back and say how much I enjoyed my career, not be victim to a fat paycheck. I’ve always believed that if you follow your heart the cash will follow later. The pay cut is the best example of that. A year and a half after agreeing to take a lesser pay, I’m back to where I was before financially, and really enjoying my work. It’s important to enjoy what you do because it ties into your overall quality of life.” – Jon Salas, Publicist, The Running Publicist
5. Room for Growth & Challenging Work
“When looking for a job I initially thought that factors such as a flexible working environment, cool office space and perks like beer on tap or catered lunches were things I wanted. Although having a beautiful workspace is great, I've now come to realize there are two main things that have kept me incredibly invested and engaged in my current role: room for growth and interesting and challenging work. I've found that it’s now extremely important to me to know that there are opportunities for growth. Secondly, I not only find my work interesting, but also challenging — challenging in the sense that it's not mundane and requires me to think, but it's not outside of my actual capabilities and skills. It would be my biggest fear to be stuck in a role doing things I already knew how to do with no one pushing me to try new things.” – Cydoney Curran, PR & Influencer Marketing Specialist at Fresh Prep
6. Quality of Life
“The answer boils down to quality of life, which often translates to vacation time, shorter commutes, flexible work schedule, the ability to work from home, or alternative schedules to the 5-day work week (i.e, M-W only). Millennials don't want to wait until they're 60 to finally travel the world. We work to travel, and we want to take our photos now (and post them on social media). But more importantly, we've seen what happened to our parents who worked 60-hour work weeks, and experienced burnout, layoffs, and cutbacks. We've collectively realized that working our whole lives to achieve ‘bigger is better’ or ‘more is more’ isn't the way to go. We don't require the financial accumulation of ‘stuff’ as much as we want the value of enjoying life while we're young and healthy. So, when a job offers great quality of life, we are often willing to take that job offer over one that may be more prestigious, higher paying, or a better fit, career-wise.” – M. Reese Everson, Esq., Author & Attorney, B.A.B.E.S. in the Workplace
7. Strong Management
“I’ve found that strong management has been the biggest motivating force in my career. When a manager is able to exert confidence, it helps me commit to the company’s vision and give 100% to the business. I don’t know if this is the case for other millennial employees, but I find vision and execution more valuable than benefits because it makes such a difference in the day to day of your life.” – Ben Johnson, Content Strategist at Proof
8. Company Culture
“Millennials, in my opinion, are drawn to an inclusive, lively company culture. They want to be heard, but also have some enjoyment at work (who doesn't). It's important for them to feel like they are a part of something and that they matter as individuals.” – Alayna Pehrson, Digital Marketing Strategist at Best Company