What are “millennials” really looking for in the workplace?

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UK200Group member firm Price Bailey,explores what businesses can do to recruit and retain the newer generation of “millennials”.

There was a great story earlier this year when Virgin Group made staff go back in time for what they called “a corporate day”, with staff behaving in a way that many traditional firms operate. There was no twitter, no casual clothing and no personal calls. Sir Richard Branson said it was “a horrible experience for everybody”.

Culture and attitudes in our everyday lives can change, but sometimes businesses can take their time to catch up. In our recent research with Ipsos Mori into the thoughts of business leaders, we discovered that their second highest concern (behind finding new customers) was finding and retaining the right talent.

With these things in mind, we decided to explore what businesses can do to recruit and retain the newer generation of “millennials”. Essentially, these are people under the age of 30 and your future workforce.

We spoke to expert on the matter Maxine Dolan, formerly Group Leadership Development Director at Tesco and panellist at our series of “Inside the Minds of Business Leaders” events.
Here’s a summary of the key points of from that interview:

Their attitudes are very different

There is a much bigger change from the millennial generation in their attitude towards having a job which is very different compared to previous generations. They work very hard but they have different needs.

A bigger purpose from the business

They expect the business to have a real purpose nowadays. They want the business to stand for something and they want the company’s values to be in line with theirs. This ‘purpose’ however should not just be for PR reasons – it needs to be genuine.

Open communication

They are used to more instant and open communication. They’d like to know what the future business plans are and they don’t want smoke and mirrors.

Hierarchies don’t matter

Perhaps because this generation have grown up in a world where technology makes things so instant, they aren’t used to sitting around and biding their time to talk to the chief. They might not understand why there is a hierarchy in place and they may even tweet the boss if necessary!
Career aspirations and a challenge

There is much more of an expectation around career development and how much of a challenge the job will give them. They want to give their absolute best because otherwise they may become bored very quickly.

A social side to the workplace

People want to feel happy and motivated at work – now more than ever. They want to feel themselves and something as simple as a hang-out area to chat to colleagues could really make a difference to people.

Flexibility in working hours & location

Fixed working times just might not make much sense to the newer generation. In a world where you can find out what you need in a tap of a button, why do working times have to be so fixed and restricted? With better technology and different attitudes to working, millennials may prefer starting one day at 10am but they might want to continue until 10pm.

To read the full-length interview check out our post "The workplace for millennials: How to attract and retain the new generation" where Maxine also goes onto explain the boundaries of changing the workplace culture.

Tags: UK200

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