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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

How to Attract More Millennials in the Workplace

Top 3 Values Millenials Look for in the Workplace

Millennials are taking over the workforce. As a leader, do you know how to work with millennials?

“by 2020, Millennials (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are forecast to comprise half of the American workforce, and by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce.”

As the workforce is becoming more millennial, are you prepared to adapt to the changes?

It’s become pretty clear that millennials value different things than the generations before them. And, as a leader in business, it’s important you take this into consideration when it comes to your business model, work flows, and overall policies and processes. The millennial demands are high, and they come from a different perspective than what we are used to...

As the rising generation takes its place in the workforce, if we want to adapt, we must understand what motivates and fuels the younger generation. And trust me, as a Gen-Xer who loves working with millennials, I’ve learned that what they prioritize isn’t all that bad.

In my experience, I’ve found that the best way to work with millennials is to create a culture that prioritizes empathy, freedom, and flexibility. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Empathy from leadership in the workplace

I do a survey in one of my presentations that asks people what are the three traits they value most in a leader and the number one response that comes back almost every time is empathy. It’s not intelligence, power, or even high level skills that makes a leader great to work for… it’s empathy.

And empathy is what millennials are looking for first and foremost in the workplace. As leaders, we need to understand that empathy is a trait that comes with a little bit of vulnerability… and that can be uncomfortable.

Empathy in leadership is a different style than the traditional autocratic leadership of the past fifty to eighty years. It is switching from “I’m the boss and you need to get it done” culture to “I value what you have to offer, is there anything I can provide you with to help you be more successful?” way of understanding people and teams.

When you lead with compassion and understanding, it makes it easier for employees to be open, honest and transparent with you about the challenges they are facing. It reduces the stress and anxiety an employee might feel and instead opens up the workplace to more inclusivity and innovation.

“In a leadership environment specifically, empathy is understanding that your employees have their own complex working and communication styles, as well as a life separate from work. Most employees do not feel comfortable talking about stress in the workplace, which builds up even more stress for them. An empathetic leader creates an environment where employees feel safe communicating their stress.”

Empathy is not something you are born with and it can be learned and refined over time. It is up to you, as a leader, to learn this skill because the bottom line is, leaders that are empathetic retain their people.

2. Freedom in professional and personal lifestyle

When it comes to millennials, it is very apparent that they value freedom. Freedom is something that can be hard to integrate into the workplace, but if you want to retain the rising generations, it must be done.

The traditional nine-to-five life is coming to an end with the millennial movement and the older generations will need to realize that maybe there is value in incorporating freedom into the work-life balance.

Millennials don’t want to sacrifice their personal lives for their professional ones. Instead, millennials want the two to be able to fuel each other. When a company or organization really gets to know their employees and creates policies that help support young professionals both inside and outside of work, you combat The Great Resignation that is happening.

“According to one Gallup report, employees across various industries who spent 60-80% of their time working remotely had the highest rates of engagement and productivity.”

Forbes also reminds us that millennials value social connection and enjoy having the ability to work openly in teams. Constant collaboration and feedback has been shown to boost job satisfaction among the millennials.

Whether it’s creating policies that allow employees to tend to their animals at home or pick their children up from school each day, freedom to spend life outside of work however they choose, while also growing in their career is what millennials are looking for in a career.

3. Flexibility at home and in the office

Flexibility goes hand-in-hand with freedom for millennials. Together, freedom and flexibility seem to be the main motivator for this rising generation.

Whether at home, in the office, or traveling, millennials want the flexibility to work and play on a schedule that makes sense for them.

As a leader, if you can open up to the idea of a more flexible work style where you hold the attitude of “as long the work gets done when it needs to get done,” then you will see much positive feedback from your employees.

A large part of the millennial generation are working parents. Millennial women especially are finding jobs where the company values flexibility so they can stay home with their kids, or create a schedule where they can easily still pick their kids up from school. The ability to cater to the needs of their children (or even their pets) is important to millennials and a company that considers this is going to be the company that catches the attention of a millennial.

When you understand what motivates your employees and really get to know what they love to do, you can give them the tools to become the most successful person they can be, which, in turn, grows your organization or business.

Working well with millennials

Millenials are pushing the needle forward, and quickly. As leaders, it’s time for us to catch up and get on board with some of the things this new generation is passionate about.

There’s a lot that the millennials and older generations have going for us that we can leverage. It seems that millennials find the best, quickest way to do things (that usually involves some level of technology), while the older generations have the wisdom, skills, and experience to know what has worked in the past and what hasn’t.

It all comes down to appreciating what each generation brings to the table and what they love to do most. When you focus on that, and leverage each other’s strengths, you find that there is a way to meet millennials in the middle and create a process for doing things that works well for everyone involved.

We’ve gone through incredible changes over the past two years and things are going to continue to change. A lot of what you millenials are bringing forward is being embraced by the Gen-Xers and the Boomers.

What I love about millennials is that they bring a very freesh perspective to everything and, if we let them, they have the ability to inspire the older generations to embrace change and do it quickly.

As a speaker and advocate for millennials in leadership, my motivational keynote can help inspire your team to embrace change so that your organization can be an attractive place for millennials to work.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, reach out and book me to speak at your next event today!


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