What do millennials want at work? | Akumina

Millennial Monday (part 2): Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

Millennial Monday (part 2): Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

Millennial Monday (part 2): Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

What do millennials want at work?

According to the 2019 Akumina millennial manager surveymillennial employees have some demands, and they’re a shift from the norm, to put it lightlyBack in the day (when the Baby Boomer generation made up the majority of the workforce), it was honorable – cool, even – to live for your job. People would sign on with a gigantic corporation right out of collegework themselves to the bone, and sacrifice personal time in exchange for bonuses, promotions, etc. with the idea being that a steady job and a paycheck was the most valuable thing you could have. 

In the not-so-distant past, it was universally understood that work was meant to be miserable. Nobody liked their job, everyone complained about their boss, and 5 pm couldn’t come soon enough. But here’s the thing about Baby Boomers. They got that name because they had a lot of kids; which means that they very quickly became the minority in the workplace, and as demographics change, values shift. We’re seeing that same shift happen now as the millennial generation is beginning to dominate the workforce. Here are some of the things our millennial colleagues really really want. (The irony here being that most millennials are too young to get that Spice Girls reference.) 

Feedback and mentorship

Millennials want to hear your opinion about their performance. 

What some people hear when they read that is that millennials are needy and want constant praise. But according to our dataover 42% of our millennial manager survey respondents said that they felt they had a lot to learn from their current jobs, and that they valued the opportunities afforded to them. As we know, millennials are very interested in driving their careers forward using any means necessary, including job hopping, so I’d argue that the millennial tendency to seek feedback is driven by a desire to improve, not by a case of extreme narcissism. 

Honestly, asking for feedback and mentorship is one of the smartest things you can do in the workplace. It shows that you care about your performance, that you value your colleagues’ opinions, and that you’re willing to acknowledge your imperfections. We should all seek feedback whenever we have the chance. 

Recognition 

Millennials want to be recognized for their achievements (and really, who doesn’t?). 

An overwhelming portion (92%) of our millennial manager survey respondents said that it was either very important or important that their accomplishments are recognized by their senior staff. This particular workplace value is a little polarizing. You might think that expecting senior staff to take the time to acknowledge the accomplishments of their junior staff members is unrealistic. I mean, the ratio of senior to junior staffers is super low. 

However, here’s the thing. Better employee experience leads to increased productivity and profitabilityOne of the methods we’ve seen over and over again to improve employee experience is recognition and reward. To spell it out, if you want your company to reach its peak level of success, you need to do what it takes to make your workforce happy.  

And you know what? We use a lot of technology at work. Like, a LOT of technology. Technology like our employee experience platform that can very easily help you identify and acknowledge good work on your team. Just saying… 

Direct contact with the CEO 

Millennials want office hours with their CEO 

Ok, this one is a little extreme. If a company has 50 people, employees might be able to snag a few minutes with the leadership team. But if a company has 50,000 peoplethe CEO probably only has time to meet with direct reports. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The logistics just don’t add up. 

Now, that’s not to say that employees won’t have any contact at all with the CEO. At a former company, our president used to hold lunches on a regular basis, and a small group of us would sit with him and chat over sandwiches. You might have that same experience with a CEO at a small company. 

If you’re a CEO reading this blog, hey there! Also, it’s up to you to decide how to best communicate with your junior staff members (obviously). Given the number of millennials expected to flood the workforce, you’re probably more than willing to make accommodations for the sake of employee engagement, as you have with previous generations. As previously mentioned, technology can help. You might not be able to have one-on-ones with your junior staffers, but you can have virtual team calls or even real-time chats with your team, using our communications platform.  

Conclusion

If it sounds like millennial employees have a lot of demands, it’s because they doThey want a lot of attentionplain and simple. But here’s the thing. The kind of attention that they want is productive. It helps them to be better at their jobs, and in turn, helps their companies increase their success. To top it all off, millennial managers treat their teams the way they want to be treated. Our survey found that, “…millennials are leveraging their affinity for personal feedback to shape the way they onboard, train, and work alongside their junior staff.” So, I suppose that when it comes to millennial employees, you get what you give. (Also another 90s pop song that most millennials won’t recognize. Awesome.) 

So, if you work with millennials, or you are a millennial who wants to know what other millennials like in the workplace, download our millennial manager survey. Then, go ahead and request a demo of the Akumina employee experience platform to learn how we can help you help your millennial team. 

Cait Merry
Cait Merry
Cait Merry manages the Akumina website and social accounts, where she writes and shares thought leadership pieces, research-based content, and the occasional pun. She came to Akumina from Oracle, where she was a technical writer. Cait lives in Peterborough, NH with her husband Matt, their two sweet little girls, and many (but not enough) pets.
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