BY Dan Cook
If anyone knows more about millennials than an actual millennial, it’s Brian Weed, CEO of Avenica. Founded in 1998, Avenica’s personnel services are focused exclusively on recent college graduates and the companies who are looking for such talent.
“Our goal is to place recent college graduates on the right career-track, finding entry-level positions for them at companies offering strong professional growth,” Weed says.
Millennials have been given “kind of a bad rap” by being overly stereotyped and studied. “Millennials are America’s most diverse generation. They hold more college degrees than any other generation, and they’ve experienced economic and political turmoil. They’re savvy, educated, skeptical, and on top of it all, they’re idealists. All of this has led to vast changes in the ways today’s workforce views business, engages with their organizations and leaders, and makes decisions about their careers,” he says. And yet, just as with any generation, one must be cautious about assuming one profile fits all.
Related: Are you prepared for job candidates to ask, “Why should I work here?”
However one feels about this generation, there’s the fact that millennials are going to be the prime engine of the workplace for years to come. “The truth is that companies have to adapt to them, not the other way around,” he says.
Given the company’s focus and its tenure of service, BenefitsPRO asked Weed to identify three top millennial worker trends for 2019. Here’s his list:
1. Shifting motivations
Salary and culture continue to rank high on the list for attracting millennial and Gen Z candidates, but the following factors are increasingly important:
Flexibility: They expect more control over where and when they can work, with the ability (enough PTO and work-life balance) to travel and have other life experiences.
Mission driven: They are more in touch with the environment, society, and the future of both. They feel they are not only representative of their organization, but their organization also represent who they are as individuals and want to be a part of organizations that share similar views. They look for leaders who will make decisions that will better the world, not just their organizations, and solve the problems of the world through their work.
Development and training opportunities: Because millennials have seen such dramatic shifts in the economy, they seek to have more control over the future of their careers. Not only to “recession proof” but also to “future proof” their careers by constantly learning and developing.
2. Declining levels of loyalty and increased job hopping
These phenomena, well-known to employers or millennials, are largely due to:
Shifting motivations (outlined above): The key to managing this group is understanding the shifting motivations and finding ways to meet those needs/wants will help organizations attract and retain top talent.
Higher value placed on experiences, constantly wanting to try and learn new things: Managers need to give these employees opportunities to grow and develop in their roles is essential, but also opportunities to explore different fields and disciplines is also key. Keeping the work and the environment interesting and diverse will keep millennial employees engaged for longer.
Less patience, with a desire for frequent indicators of career progress (higher pay and/or promotions): Job hopping often allows the quickest opportunity to make more money and climb the career ladder. As a result, organizations are building in a quicker cadence for promotions and pay raises.
3. An increasing lack of basic professional skills/awareness
Many of these talented young people lack essential knowledge about what to wear, how to act and how to/engage in an office setting. Here’s how to respond:
Managers need to be ready to guide these new workforce entries into the professional skills areas. They often don’t have a network of older (parents/relatives) professionals around them to set an example and advise on what “professionalism” looks like and means. And colleges often don’t provide education in professionalism in an office setting: aside from business schools, many colleges don’t prepare students—especially those in the liberal arts—on meeting etiquette, business apps and technology, and other everyday professional practices.
Corporate onboarding of new entry-level employees often excludes the “basics” (meeting protocols, MS Office skills, etc.). While companies typically have some type of job-specific training programs, they often assume these basic office skills are there, and aren’t able to see a candidate’s potential when lack of professional skills/awareness is present. This can create a barrier for highly qualified but more “green” candidates, especially first generation graduates. Effective companies will develop training, coaching, and mentorship programs can help once on the job.
Weed’s 4 survival tips to managers of millennials
1. Create clear and fast-moving career tracks.
- Create distinct career tracks with clear direction on how to advance to each level.
- Restructure promotion and incentive programs that give smaller, more incremental promotions and salary raises, giving more consistent positive reinforcement and closer goals that make it more enticing to stay.
- Create professional development opportunities that help them advance in those career tracks and build other skills they need and want.
- Create ways young employees can explore other career tracks without leaving the company. Millennials and Gen Z’s have a higher propensity for changing their minds and/or wanting different experiences, so consider ways that enable employees to make lateral moves, or create rotational programs that allow inexperienced professionals to get experience in a variety of business capacities and are then more prepared to choose a track.
2. Alongside competitive compensation packages that include 401k matching programs and comprehensive insurance offerings, provide benefits that allow them to have a sense of flexibility when it comes to how they work.
- Working remotely, flex schedules/hours
- Floating holidays–especially beneficial as the workforce becomes more and more diverse
- Restructure PTO that gives employees more autonomy and responsibility for their work
- Tuition reimbursement programs to increase retention and build leaders internally
3. Create a strong company culture: company culture is one of the strongest recruiting and retention tools. Go beyond the flashy tactics of having an on-site game room and fun company outings and bring more focus to the company’s mission. Create and live/work by a set of core values that represents your company’s mission. People will be more engaged and move beyond just being their role or position when they feel connected to the mission.
4. Challenge without overworking. Boredom and stress are equally common as factors for driving millennials out of a workplace. Allow involvement in bigger, higher-level projects and discussions to provide meaningful learning opportunities, and create goals that stretch their capabilities but are attainable.
Original article from Benefits Pro.