3 Easy Tips to Engage Millennials — Like Myself!
By Cristina Bernardo — Emzingo
Luckily I just barely classify as a millennial. Though the definitions vary, most agree that those of us born from 1980 to 2000 are millennials. It may be hard for me to place myself in the same lot as Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, but hey, so it goes.
We grew up in a vastly different world than our parents or even our siblings (9 in my case!) “Millennials grew up with computers in our lap” as one good friend cited at a recent conference. We do twitter, instagram, pinterest, and most of us have even decided that Facebook feels old-school. Something that our parents are into now, not us. We hashtag the heck out of everything and our emotions tend to be summarized in short phrases #sotiredofworktoday. Not to mention we put all of our private thoughts on public platforms and most us get our news from blog feeds, tweets, or shared posts rather than newspapers or TV.
Apparently, though, we matter. No matter how immature, irresponsible, or unfocused we may seem to the Generation Y or Baby Boomers, we are pretty important. In the U.S. we currently make up about 1/3rd of the population, and according to the most recent Accenture study, we are due to inherent nearly 30 trillion in the ‘Greater’ wealth transfer over the next thirty to forty years.
So how do you engage us? How do you employ us? Get us to stick around for more than a year? Well there are a few things you should know about us. And though I can’t claim to be an expert, I’ve definitely known, seen, and experienced these things, even if I am on the older scale.
1) We want a good job… NOW!
Patience does not seem to be a word we know well in our generation. With iPhones, endless apps, 60-character tweets, and pictures that disappear in 30 seconds, we are not a generation that likes to wait. We want it all, and we want it NOW.
We are also the most educated generation. Nearly 61% of U.S. millennials have a college degree, and more of us than ever have a Masters degree or higher. And we have been taught our whole lives that we matter, that we are important, that we are great, that we are the future. And no, we do not want to wait to be successful. We want it NOW.
So what does that mean? We are not as willing to do the dirty work. We don’t want to make coffees, print copies, or fetch your laundry. And we definitely don’t want to design Safeways. To use an architecture metaphor from my much older brother, we all graduate college ready to design skyscrapers.
Well someone has to do the less interesting work, right? Of course they do, and we can do some of these things. But we also need to feel like we matter. Like you care about our input. Like we have some great ideas that perhaps you haven’t even thought of yet. In fact, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 72% of millennials do not feel that their organization is making the full use of their skills. Yet, 53% of us aspire to be the leader of most senior executive team within our current organization.
So sure, ask us to design the next grocery chain, but make sure you also ask for our advice or our input on how to make those pictures of your skyscraper go viral.
2) We do want a great job, but we also want a LIFE.
More than the generations before us, millennials really care about having a more beneficial work/life balance. In fact, according to the Universum millennial study, 47% of us would consider giving up a well-paid and prestigious job to gain a better work-life balance.
Many of us, and I won’t name names, wished we had seen our parents more growing up (like every kid in my neighborhood). We wish they had had more vacation time, or that they had come to more of our games.
We care about our families and we want to have a life outside of work. Many companies have caught on to this, like Virgin United and Netflix with unlimited vacation, or Discovery Channel who offers every other Friday afternoon off in the summertime. We want some flexibility in our schedules, and want a boss who accepts and encourages us to take long vacations, to NOT work at home every night, and to NOT check our emails at 11pm.
We want employers who respect our time off. And more often than not, we want a chance to work from home… and be TRUSTED!
I know the Baby Boomers out there might be a little nervous about this concept. But don’t be! Research shows that those who really do enjoy their time out of work, actually do better while in work, and that employees with a flexible schedule actually put in more hours. In fact, “researchers found that employees who worked remotely one day a week and workers who had reduced their required weekly office hours tended to report higher job satisfaction, lower stress and higher loyalty to their company than employees who didn’t have flexible hours.”
So cut us some slack, encourage us to relax more, and I think you will reel in the rewards.
3) We care about Society.
A lot more millennials care about their environment and helping others than before. You don’t have to look far to see a pair of Tom Shoes, or a buy-one, give-one bag, or biodegradable cups and spoons at every store.
We know our world has gone down the tubes and we want to save it. We are passionate about the environment, and we believe Bono when he says we can end poverty in our lifetime. Heck, even McDonald’s profits are down 30%, while kale, quinoa, and açai bowls are all the rave.
Yet, perhaps more than anything, we want to work for a company that is doing good for others. According to the Millennial Impact study, 39% of millennials researched the philanthropic and CSR work of a company before their interview, and 55% were influenced to accept or reject their offer because of it.
And we know when you aren’t telling the whole truth. We questions whether you really care about poverty just because you make a few recycled backpacks with your gastronomical profits.
We want to work for companies that actually care. That don’t just have a CSR department tucked away at the back end of a building, but that engrain sustainable practices into every decision that they make. Companies that demand more of their suppliers, work with minority owned businesses, and respect the environment in which they live.
And we want a chance to give back at work, through skills-based volunteering and other group-led programs. In fact, of those surveyed in the Millennial Impact study, 44% of them had volunteered their skills in the past year, and 99% of them had enjoyed it.
Not only do we care where our money goes for investments, with many preferring to invest in green bonds, the environment, and investments with demonstrated impact, but we also care where our time goes.
So you want to hire and keep us? Try to do what’s right, offer us opportunities to give back at work, and ask for our opinions and make it seem like they matter.
And for the love of guacamole, don’t roll your eyes when we say we want another weekend off — just wish us Bon Voyage!
When in doubt, please just ask yourself one simple question: WWGD? What Would Google Do?
Remember, there IS a reason everyone wants to work for them after all…