[Estimated reading time: 3 minutes]

Millennials form a large segment of the current labour market. Employers cannot turn a blind eye to this upcoming generation and the new challenges it brings. They need to adopt a fresh perspective and new measures to attract and retain Millennials on their workforce.

Millennials are the generation born between the 1980s and the early 2000s and represent an estimated group of 76 million people worldwide. Also known as Gen Y-ers, millennials are the first generation that have fully grown around technology. This generation is categorised as having connections rather than friends, preferring texting to calling, opting for cyberspace rather than the town square and being inundated with apps and technology that promote instant feedback. Many studies have concentrated on millennials and what it takes to motivate them.

Here are 5 key millennial characteristics along with tips to guide organisations on how best to manage this new workforce.

  1. Millennials do not want to feel like a cog in a massive machine Unlike most past generations bred as part of hierarchical family systems, millennials have been brought up via a parenting style that promotes individual empowerment. They are used to being involved in family decisions. As a result, managers should not be surprised to observe millennials instantly wanting to be empowered and entrusted with decision-making. Millennials tend to find it demotivating to work in companies that manage top-down, where they cannot have their say and show their potential.

  2. They expect fast career progression Although employers might find this unreasonable and irrational, millennials not only expect to be involved in company-wide decisions, but aim to join work environments that nurture their development and offer the chance of fast career progression. Just as they have grown up with technology that provides instant feedback, millennials need to experience instant gratification. To respond to this, managers need to prioritise the distribution and type of tasks to appeal to the Gen Y-ers’ need for self-development. Additionally, it would be helpful to share a timeline of what progression looks like in the organisation and what is involved: This helps avoid ambiguity while providing direction and managing expectations.

Read also: Your Career Strategy

  1. Millennials place a strong emphasis on work-life balance Millennials are likely to have experienced or witnessed a situation where older generations have delayed their personal satisfaction in return for career advancement. While they do aspire to be successful at work, they tend to oppose the mindset that success must come at the expense of other thrilling experiences. Companies would do well to promote environments that value the employee as an human being above all else, focusing on deliverables rather than time-keeping. Moreover, workplace perks are well-positioned to appeal to millennials.

Read also: Office Perks - How effective are they?

  1. Millennials want to work with the latest technology As millennials have grown up with extensive exposure to technology, they expect to utilise modern technology at the workplace and will easily turn down the opportunity to work for companies that fail to cater for this. This is increasingly true for IT employees who often refuse to work for organisations that do not use latest technologies. This is closely linked to the point that millennial employees who feel they are no longer developing their skills are more likely to leave their place of work.

Read also: How Social Media Has Become An Employer's Asset

  1. Millennials want to work in a nurturing, social environment Millennials were raised in the social media era and they want this to be replicated in their workplace. Furthermore, they also want to be surrounded by colleagues that they look up to and can learn from. Our recruitment services experiences at KONNEKT have shown us candidates turning down higher salary offers in favour of a more positive, nurturing environment.

Just as previous generations have done in the past, millennials tend to set companies on edge as they push employers to look at new ways of doing things and motivating their workforce. In challenging companies, Gen Y-ers are also bringing about positive change - today, an organization must evolve and grow not simply or exclusively for profitability, but also to create an environment that promotes the development of the individuals who form part of it.