Are You Ready for Millennials in Your Workplace?

What do you think of when you hear about millennials in the workplace? Many people think that this generation of workers, ages 18-34, are entitled, lazy and addicted to technology/social media.  However, the millennial generation often has a different view of themselves and would claim they are motivated, forward-thinking and crave mentorship. With millennials currently making up approximately 35 percent of the workforce and the expectation that millennials will make up over 75 percent of the workforce in the next ten years, employers are going to have no choice but to adapt and learn what is important to this generation of workers. Most companies are aware that millennials play a significant role in their operations but may not be sure what motivates these specific employees. Experts have found that there are three key characteristics in the workplace that millennials find most important.

1. The opportunity to grow within a company and share responsibility.

While the baby-boomer generation has its own impression of millennials, the fact is that many in this generation really want to be given opportunities where they are held responsible, even on a micro-level. This leads them to feel like they are an important part of the company and team.  Millennials have a strong desire to learn and grow so that they feel more useful to their company. Companies should make sure they are looking at their millennial employees as future leaders by giving them opportunities that are challenging and will allow them to develop their skills and grow within the company.

2. Desired work/life balance.

The days of the 9-to-5 office work environment seem to be changing, mainly due to significant advances in technology and a new generation of millennial workers who are equipped with the skills necessary to take advantage of technology. There is an old-school mentality that if an employee is not in the office, then they must not be working.  However, the millennial generation often feels like they would be more productive if they had the ability to work remotely.  Millennials are not only asking for more vacation time and days off for mental health, but they also believe flexibility and the ability to work remotely plays a key role in employee satisfaction and their desired work/life balance.

3. A mentoring program which creates close relationships with their boss.

Many companies have mentoring programs and evaluation programs.  The question is, are they providing effective support to their employees? Millennials are often looking for accessibility to leadership and timely feedback on work they are performing. Formal periodic performance reviews are not enough to build an environment of support and relationships that the millennial generation craves.  An effective mentoring program must include a training program for mentors, motivated mentors and mentees, appropriate oversight and company-wide support of the program. Approximately 70 percent of millennials are more likely to stay with a company over five years if there is an effective mentoring program in place.

As the number of employees considered as millennials continues to grow, it is highly recommended that you take a hard look at your work environment and programs and consider the necessary changes to attract and preserve the best available talent.

To learn more, contact William R. Michalski, CPA, of Dannible & McKee, LLP at 315-472-9127 or wmichalski@dmcpas.com.