Article: What do Millennials want and why is it important to know

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What do Millennials want and why is it important to know

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Training, flexible hours, cash bonus and a rich experience are the top work benefits that Millennials want
What do Millennials want and why is it important to know

The always online, new age talent is not only redefining the workspace and they are also pushing employers to innovatively engage them.


Worldwide, CEOs are in a quandary of finding and recruiting young talent to replace the soon-to-retire Baby Boomer generation. The workforce is going through a marked change and is being dominated by those who were born between 1980 and 2000 — the Generation Y, popularly known as the millennials. Having actually outnumbered their Generation X predecessors in 2015 , millennials represent one-in-three workers in the US and close to half of the population of India. By 2020, they will represent 50% of the global workforce.

Attracting and keeping young talent takes a further competitive edge due to the “Loyalty Lite" trend pointed out in several studies: that the millennial generation is more open to changing employers than the generations before. This is because compared to their predecessors; fewer millennials expect corporate loyalty to provide stability or rewards in today’s economic environment.

The always online, new age talent is not only redefining the workspace and they are also pushing employers to innovatively engage them.  According to KPCB’s 2015 Internet Trends Report that draws on a PwC study, millennials value training and learning opportunities the most. While reflecting on insights from the study, this article offers key takeaways to questions like: what kind of opportunities do companies need to present millennials to learn and grow? What kind of incentives do they need to look at? What should they incorporate into their culture? In order for companies to tackle the demands of the new generation, they need to focus the process, practice and budget of the talent strategy on the following three areas:

  1. Re-define work and workplace: Creating a flexible work environment has less to do with a company’s policy and more to do with creating the right culture. There are two principal elements that need emphasis: one is clarity with respect to what needs to be accomplished and clear expectations with respect to work. The second is the need to create a culture of trust by establishing the right relationship with managers and empowering them. Even as technology continues to blur the line between ‘work’ and ‘home’, millennials want to be able to work in a way that suits them best. They want clear targets, regular feedback and a result-driven rewards system, in lieu of a rigid model of fixed working time and place.

    Millennials use technology that is geared to an ‘anytime, anywhere environment’ that is high on ease of use and low on cost. In recent study, 78 per cent millennials believed that technology makes them more effective and expect a workplace technology ecosystem that includes social networking, instant messaging, video-on-demand and blogs. Such social tools enable this generation to instantly connect, engage, and collaborate with cohorts and managers in ways that are natural to them, leading to better productivity across the enterprise.

  2. Focus on training and development: A total of 22 per cent millennials rank training and development as their number one benefit that they would most value from an employer. Millennials value support for academic training, opportunity to collaborate with inspiring colleagues on key projects, class room training and rotational assignments. MOOCs and bite size learning, which have taken the corporate world by storm, not only suit the learning styles of millennials, but also support mobility by allowing them to access small chunks of information at their fingertips, anytime and anywhere. Such initiatives are also convenient for HR to promote skill building in existing employees donning new roles or for bringing new-hires.

    The most valued opportunity for millennials was the chance to work with strong coaches and mentors, with over 28 per cent ranking it their top most preference. Mentoring gives the young workforce a chance to engage, interact and learn from senior management. Many organizations have also been promoting ‘reverse mentoring’ in which senior officials are paired with millennials to train for various skills like social media — an increasingly indispensable tool for companies.

  3. Cash Bonuses: Millennials prefer cash bonuses and variable pay when compared to the various other benefits that companies offer employees. A total of 14 per cent of millennials surveyed said that they rank cash bonuses as their top most benefit that they value the most from their employer. According to the study, more millennials rank cash bonuses when compared to free private healthcare (at 8 percent), financial assistance with housing (at 5 per cent) ,assistance for clearing study debts (at 3 per cent) and maternity/paternity benefits (at 2%).

  4. Rich work experience: For an ambitious and optimistic generation like the millennials, the biggest draw was the opportunity for progression – 52% in this survey said that they felt this made an employer an attractive prospect. Millennials can be put on rotational assignments that help them gain a richer experience. In an increasingly globalizing world, international experience is seen as a vital element in successful careers. According to a survey, a total of 71%millennials expected and wanted to do an overseas assignment during their career . This is great news for companies that wish to grow on a global scale and can provide multi-country assignments to their young employees.

Feeling valued, satisfied, and confident on the job is important for new employees, not only because it helps them perform at their best, but because studies show it is likely to determine if they remain with a company for long term. How is your organization adapting to millennials?

This article is a part of the People Matters- Oracle Let's Talk Talent series. Click here to visit the Let's talk talent page to read more such articles.

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Topics: Training & Development, Leadership Development, #Lets Talk Talent

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