What do millennials want? Values and development

The Millennial generation is now the single largest segment in the workforce, recently passing Baby Boomers for the number one spot. These 75.4 million individuals will represent over 40% of the nation’s workforce by the year 2020. Raised with 8th place trophies and multiple graduation ceremonies before they reach first grade, these 19-34 year olds are often seen as impatient for promotion, dependent on praise, shocked by criticism, and not prepared to make the effort required for career success. However, they are regarded as the most educated generation and sophisticated consumers, and bring a natural acumen for technology and high moral and ethical standards, all of which are valuable traits in an employee. So what do they want in a work environment and how can we satisfy them?

Recently, a survey by Deloitte University Press found that 25% of the 4,300 Millennials surveyed plan to leave their current employer within a year, while 44% plan to leave within two years. This number jumps to 66% when asked if they planned on leaving their current employer by 2020. So why this lack of loyalty? What are Millennials looking for? The survey supplies several insights into this phenomenon, focusing on the gap between generational and organizational values, concluding that those companies that “do the right thing”, and “have a purpose beyond profit”, in the eyes of the Millennials, are more likely to keep them for the long term. Millennials, more than previous generations, desire a workplace with a more creative and inclusive culture, rather than a more authoritarian, rules based approach. However, one of the largest gaps felt by this generation, is the lack of professional and leadership development opportunities offered by their companies.

Considering what we know about this generation, this finding should not be shocking. Raised by Boomer parents with the consistent push to be better and do more, these workers, who feel they deserve a corner office and six figure salary right out of college, feel that their organizations are not doing enough to develop them. In fact, the vast majority of respondents to the Deloitte survey felt that leadership skills are highly valued by organizations, while their organization was failing to fully develop these skills. Actually, 71% of those reporting that they are likely to leave their company within the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed. When asked what they would do differently if they were in charge, Millennials responded that they would place a greater focus than current leaders on “employee growth and development”. Again showing that a major focus of this generation is gaining new skills and personal development.

It is vital to the success of companies to satisfy this largest segment of the workforce and increase their loyalty. In order to accomplish this, they need to bridge the gap between what Millennials want and what the company offers. Not only do companies need to identify, understand, and align with Millennial values, they need to satisfy their demands. Most importantly, they need to support Millennials’ hunger for growth and development. The Deloitte study points to mentoring and the provision of developmental opportunities as successful strategies in this area.

Those Millennials most satisfied with the growth opportunities and professional development offered by their companies, are obviously more likely to stay with their organization for the long term. The body of research in the area of organizational development has also shown a high correlation between the investment organizations make in their workforce and the overall success of the company. Therefore, the key to organizational success, is keeping your brightest and your best by investing in their future.

Stuart R. Levine

Stuart R. Levine

Founded in 1996, Stuart Levine & Associates LLC is an international strategic planning and leadership development company with focus on adding member value by strengthening corporate culture. SL&A ... Web: www.Stuartlevine.com Details