Millennials in The Workplace: Reinforcement, not Trophies

website

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will be the largest generation in the workforce by then end of 2015 (which is rapidly approaching). This should not be shocking considering Millennials are quickly becoming the most influential population in our market today as they are graduating from college and reaching their peak employment years.

These Millennials are entering the workforce and they are bringing with them a new perception of what office life should be like and how relationships between employers and employees should be structured. In order to create the most Millennial friendly workplace, there are a few things you should know about the generation that will represent nearly 75 percent of the work force by 2030.

1. They want to grow, even if that means growing out of your company.

Can you guess the average tenure of Millennial employees? Two years. In the span of a professional career, two years seems to hardly make dent. In comparison, the average tenure for Gen X employees is five years and seven years for Baby Boomers. One of the primary reasons Millennials are more likely to change jobs is because they are not willing to stick around if they do not believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth.

Millennials embrace a strong entrepreneurial mindset and they are often on the lookout for opportunities that can continue to move them up the ladder, even if that means up and out of their current position. As digital natives, Millennials have grown up in an era where the number of resources they have is almost infinite making them more efficient problem solvers and critical thinkers.

In order to keep up with this fast moving generation, don’t slow them down. If you notice your Millennial employees looking for more advanced opportunities give them more challenging work or encourage them to keep moving. Sound crazy? It’s not. If a Millennial employee feels like their bosses are invested in their personal growth they will be more likely to develop a stronger relationship not just with the company but with the people in it.

2. They want a coach, not a boss.

Piggy backing off of the previous insight, Millennial employees expect greater accessibility to the leadership in their offices and are looking for more mentorship rather than just direction. Research shows that the number one reason Millennials are likely to leave their current job is because of their boss. Creating an environment where Millennial employees feel supported and valued by the leadership will lead to increased productivity and valuable relationships.

That means that employee/employer relationships must extend beyond just the formal annual work review. According to a recent survey conducted by TriNet, a company dedicated to providing HR solutions, 69 percent of Millennials see their company’s review process as flawed. A major reason for this is because of the lack of feedback throughout the year. The survey also found that three out four Millennials feel in dark about their performance and nearly 90 percent would feel more confident if they had ongoing check-ins with their bosses.

“The more frequent the check-ins are, the better,” said Rob Hernandez, Perform Product Manager at Trinet. “The biggest issue with the annual review process is the formality. There is often more emphasis on reflection rather than opportunities for improvement in the future.”

3. They don’t want to waste time on the little things.

According to another survey from TriNet, business expense reporting procedures by some companies have caused negative impact on Millennials. This includes their personal finances and ability to take advantage of professional opportunities – leading some Millennials to look for other jobs. Three out of five respondents to the survey reported that they have had problems paying a personal bill because they were waiting for an expense reimbursement from their employer and Millennials are 21 percent more likely than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers to have difficulty paying a personal bill because they were waiting to be reimbursed for business expenses.

More than half of employees who responded to the survey also said they have given up the opportunity to attend a conference, training or other professional opportunities because their employer’s reimbursement policy made it too difficult. We already know that professional development is vital to Millennial employment satisfaction. While many employers are willing to invest in expensive growth opportunities, their outdated reimbursement processes could be turning this important benefit from tempting to tedious.

It is surprising that any employer should lose Millennial employees due to archaic expense reporting policies when there are inexpensive, reliable and efficient expense reporting tools readily available. The most successful brands with high Millennial retention are adopting a cloud-based app, with a mobile component, that allows them to fully automate the expense-reporting process…from anywhere. Expense-reporting technology cuts down tremendously on administrative time, reimbursement time, human errors and potentially the loss of valuable Millennial employees.

4. They want balance and democracy.

It is no secret that Millennials have inspired a new wave of consumer democracy in our market today. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of the fastest growing brands. Uber, GoPro, Airbnb, and more have all built their companies on the idea of consumer equality in regards to accessibility and shared consciousness. For Millennials, there is no reason why these same principles cannot be transitioned into the workplace.

Millennials have very much re-imagined the 40-hour work week with many employers working to provide more benefits and waste less time commuting –a win for both the enlightened company, as well as the employee. An estimated three million Americans work from home and that number is expected to increase 63 percent over the next five years. According to Pew Research Center, “if they were able to make their current job more flexible, 64 percent of Millennials want to occasionally work from home and 66 percent would like to shift their hours.”

This is not a result of Millennial laziness. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Millennials base their performance on output rather than time spent on a project. By focusing on number of hours rather than quality of work, employers are setting a standard that can neither be beaten nor lost. Millennial employees are happy to work long hours on the projects that require additional time however, they do not want to sit around the office until 5pm if their work was completed two hours earlier.

While keeping these four things is mind is imperative as you start to increase the number of Millennials in your office, the most important thing to remember is that Millennials no longer work for you; they work with you.

As the most collaborative and inclusive generation to date, these young adults expect their place of work to embrace the same idealism and values they hold so dear. Creating an environment that aligns with the participation economy will be your biggest opportunity to create a company where Millennials not only want to work, but seek out as a top professional career.

Original article by Jeff Fromm