Millennials in the Workforce and What They Want

Currently, millennials are the largest generation active in the workforce. What they want out of a job is different from the generations that came before them. As the largest segment in the workforce, what they want is becoming increasingly important. If companies want to keep and attract good employees, they will have to be flexible and accepting to change.

What do millennials want out of a job?

Flexibility.

Not everyone is built for the classic 8am-5pm Monday through Friday setting. Millennials desire the ability to manipulate work hours to better fit their productivity levels and personal lives.

Sometimes people aren’t early morning risers, and they have to drag themselves out of bed. Once they get to work, they spend the first few hours trying to get their brain to “wake up.” While it looks like they are “lazy” or “undisciplined,” really, they’re forcing their body to work at a time it doesn’t comply with them. By manipulating work hours, people can be more efficient and productive while they work.

Another reason flexible work hours are wanted is for the ability to bend their schedule to meet the needs of their personal life at any given time. Employees want to feel like they can complete their work early and run out to their doctor’s appointment without having to take vacation time or being physically in the office to make up for missed time.

Not every job is built for flexibility. For example, being a nurse or working in production, having flexible hours would be harder to come by. If it’s an office environment that requires employees and management to meet or get help, instead of having extremely flexible hours, a company could set a core time, like 10am-3pm, to be at the office. This allows flexibility in an environment that still requires structure.

Option to work remotely.

“Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at an office, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a ‘thing’ not a ‘place.’”

Personally, one of the best things about working from home (for me) is embracing everything that makes me comfortable. Sometimes being social and around people for long amounts of time is draining. When working at home, I can sit weird, cuddle my cat, wear a hoodie, and still complete all the work that I needed to get done. Personally, when I am at peak comfort level, I am the most productive with my time.

Some people love picking up their laptop mid-day and sitting outside because thrive in an outdoor environment. Their creativity cracks open.

Others like to work from home so they can balance parent life with work. If they need to run kids to sports’ practices, pick up groceries, go to doctor’s appointments, or take care of a sick child, working from home can make all of that easier.

The office environment isn’t for everyone. There is no standard that all humans fit. Being able to take one or two days a week to work in an environment that makes work and personal life easier encourages employees to feel empowered to work the way that best fits them.

Cultural fit.

When asked why millennials leave companies, the most common answer is cultural fit. “71% of millennials want their co-workers to be a second family.” 88% of millennials want a fun and social work environment compared to 60% of baby boomers that feel the same way. The average American spends most of their time at work. Millennials want relationships with the people they spend most of their time around. The more cohesive a team is, the more productive they are when working together. To help improve a team-oriented business, organize team-building exercises, networking events, and luncheons.

Times are changing. Millennials desire a work environment that differs from what previous generations wanted. Although it might take some creativity and experimenting, it’s necessary to create the environment people sought after. It will involve tracking effectiveness, implementing new programs, and getting rid of what doesn’t work.