Connecting with Millennials
High expectations are the hallmark of Millennials. As our ‘next gen’ workforce and leaders, these 18-34 year olds are top of mind for most organizations. While home and office give some of us real-world perspective on what this generation values, recent reports from Deloitte, Pew Research, Business Insider and YA-YA Connection, to name a few, offer more quantitative insights.
What distinguishes Gen-Y from previous generations? Most notably, they’re true digital natives. Technology and social are part of their DNA. As the YA-YA Connection reports:
- They take multitasking to new levels, navigating seamlessly between platforms – laptops to mobile devices to TV – 27 times per hour compared to 17 switches per hour for other generations. A third of all tablet owners are 18-34.
- Always connected, the ‘under 25′ segment (aka Youth and Young Adults, or YA-YAs) can send upward of 100 texts a day
- Eighty percent visit social media sites daily and more than half access those networks via mobile. Twenty-six percent use Twitter at a rate much higher than any other age cohort.
- Online search is the first stop to finding a solution for 71% of Gen-Y.
- Once they go online for support, their expectations on turnaround time are also high. More than half expect a response to a problem or comment within 12-hours – a higher SLA standard than most.
- As consumers, they’re 2.5 times as likely to be early adopters than their older counterparts
Millennials are the most diverse generation in US history. According to Pew Research, 43% are non-Caucasian, the highest share of any generation. Perhaps, they are also the most ‘cautiously optimistic.’ Just 19% of Millennials say most people can be trusted, far less than the 40% reported by Boomers. Yet, despite higher levels of student loan debt and lower levels of personal income, they are very optimistic about their financial future. Eighty percent say they have enough money to lead the lives they want or expect to in the future.
Now consider this – in a little more than a decade from now, Gen-Y will comprise 75% of the workforce, more than double its current 36%.
According Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey, this group values work environments that afford them opportunities for innovation, professional development, and having a positive impact on society. Driven by a need to make the world a better place themselves, they hold prospective employers to that same standard.
- Roughly three-quarters believe businesses have a positive overall impact on the wider society in which they operate
- But they feel businesses can do much more to address challenges in resource scarcity (56%), climate change (55%) and income equality (49%)
The meaningfulness of their work is inextricably tied to Millennials’ job satisfaction; 72% consider it ‘very important’ to have a job where they can have an impact.
The Business Insider infographic shows the vast majority of all employees (89%) from all generations believe a good work-life balance is key to happiness on the job. Gen-Y is no exception. Powered by mobile technology, they embrace the ‘work from anywhere, anytime’ approach. In fact, 83% of Millennials think they should set their own schedules, compared to 69% of Boomers. And per Millennial Branding, 45% of Gen-Y will choose a job based on flexibility over pay.
Social also plays a considerable role in their work life. Fifty-six percent of college students would consider a prospective employer’s social media policy in their job decision. But social isn’t just about what’s going on online; it’s interpersonal as well. Seventy-one percent of Millennials look to co-workers to be a ‘second family.’
In The Millennial Compass, co-authors Pete Cashmore and Olivier Fleurot echo Gen-Y’s commitment to ‘working to live, not living to work.’ In addition, the report finds:
- They’re ambitious but not necessarily tied to an organization. They expect to move up and out. The median expected tenure with a single employer: three years or less. Not surprisingly, 92% conduct job searches online.
- Gen-Y want managers who respect and trust them, provide coaching and feedback and share their expertise. But, interestingly, they don’t see a poor manager, one who fails to deliver on these things, an impediment to their personal success.
- Net-net, they don’t want to be tied to an organization, a timetable or a hierarchy
In an interview in Forbes.com, Fleurot shared his insights on what connects and distinguishes the multiple generations in the workforce today:
Both the Baby Boom generation and the Millennials will be remembered as generations that changed the world. Both generations are “makers” and creators. The Boomers helped shape some of the great global companies that exist today and the Millennials are turning innovations into new businesses with speed we have never seen before. . . Successful leaders must drive constant innovation, manage with ease in a world of change, and must be able to navigate global markets. In that respect Millennials seem to be well prepared for the future.
As the mom of one 20-something relatively new to the workforce, and one more soon to launch (expected degree 2015), I’ve seen that ambition, strong work ethic, independence, need for high tech/high touch and impatience with ‘old school’ ways first-hand. And, like Fleurot, I’m optimistic that – with collaboration and mentoring from their more senior colleagues – the ‘Next Gen’ will be ready. What’s your take on a Millennial led future?
Connecting with Millennials