Millennials Tell Us What's on Their Workplace Wish List

3 min read
Apr 25, 2015

iStock_000042656394_Small43% of millennials plan to actively look for a new job in 2015, according to Aon Hewitt. Considering that there are 80 million of them running around, that’s a whole lot of people searching for jobs. And it’s already apparent that many leaders are very dumbstruck by the needs of this generation.

Millennials are an entirely different beast. They have different needs and expectations in the workplace. So instead of guessing what’s on their workplace wish list, we asked them.

Respect Their Time

Time and time again, the term flexibility keeps getting associated with millennials. In fact, a study by Viacom pointed out that 81% believe they should make their own hours at work.

Brandon Seymour from Beymour Consulting explains, “As a millennial, I put a high value on flexibility. I've never been a fan of the strict nine-to-five workday. Some days I come in early, some days I come in late, some days I leave early, and some days I leave late. Ultimately, productivity is all that matters. If I'm getting my work done and meeting — while hopefully exceeding — my employers' expectations, then in and out times shouldn't be so much of a concern, especially for salaried positions. I think that in and out times are necessary to establish structure in the workplace, and they should be adhered to within reason. But in my opinion, companies should offer more wiggle room for employees.”

Kat Haselkorn, New Media Manager at Go Fish Digital, says “I want bosses who respect my time and understand that I'm mature enough and responsible enough to get things done without anyone breathing down my neck.“

So give millennials some space. They might be young, but they’re an ambitious group, and they’ll get the job done.

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Life Balance

John Jersin, CEO and Founder of Connectifier, believes that there’s a blurred line between professional and private life for this generation. “I am a millennial and I employ over a dozen other millennials, but I've worked with plenty of people in older generations now and before. There's no hard line between age groups, but the trend seems to be that more millennials expect a dynamic work environment where changes are made swiftly, but the people making changes are open to feedback from the team.

“Whereas some older coworkers at previous companies drew a firmer line between their professional and social lives, millennials more often take their work home by default and, perhaps more strikingly, take their social lives to work. That is to say, people don't just expect to make friends at work; they expect social activities to take place at work. Whether it's offsite events, team lunches, or happy hours in the office, the workplace isn't just for work anymore. Younger people really expect to have fun in the office and to be on call at home. Overall, this seems to bring about a better sense of balance; humans work better when they are constantly engaged both professionally and socially as opposed to segregating their fulfillment of different needs into separate time slots.“

Communication Style

Another great difference between this generation and those previous is that there are certain expectations for communication styles.

Marketing Technologist at SEOcial Orun Bhuiyan tell us, “I'd rather be told all the details up front than receive fragmented communication.”

Jan Kreuzer, Marketing Director at Vanaia, says, “As a millennial, I want leaders at my workplace to understand that things have dramatically changed since they were rookies. That means admitting to oneself that the decades of experiences do not necessarily equal better understanding of the current state of our exponentially developing world. Now this is where we, the millennials, come in as the natives to this environment. A good leader will recognize their flaws and realize that without the millennials, the business will eventually become irrelevant. To tap into the value of millennials, a good leader will have to have a professional but laid-back managerial approach, a clear but nonauthoritarian communicational style, friendly and supportive relations, and, honestly, nerves of steel.“

There’s no avoiding millennials in the workplace. Sure, they have expectations that you’re not used to, but in the end, these expectations can actually improve the work environment. Flexibility, work-life balance, clear communication — who doesn’t want that?



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