What do millennial workers expect from work

Sep 14, 2019 by

Millennials are a unique kind of generation. They know what the previous generation went through. They also have a toehold on the future that is being significantly shaped by technological advances.

That makes their expectations from their workplace distinct or rather unusual from their parents and the previous generations. Unlike the previous generations that strived to put food on the table and keep the roof above heads intact, the millennial generation is driven by something more intrinsic. They are driven by a purpose. A purpose, which they believe gives their life — the time and the efforts that consume that time, a meaning.

For employers this poses a new challenge in workforce management. Setting expectations with millennial employees and managing them is tightrope walk. Even the slightest imbalance can throw a team into jeopardy. After all, millennials are the largest generation in the US labor force.

If you are a manager who supervises millennial employees directly or are someone who works with them closely, you must know what millennial employees expect out of their employers.

That is exactly the premise of this blog.

They expect ownership

Millennial employees are not order takers. They are independent, self-driven and proactive planners who want complete ownership of the task at hand. They are willing to listen to comments and act upon them if they find it to be necessary. But, at the end of the day, they want to act as custodians of the task and the owners of the end results. A career that does not give them autonomous ownership makes them look around for other opportunities.

They expect freedom

The 80s and 90s were the era of desk workers. 21st century is the era of knowledge workers. Millennials are workers who are empowered by the internet and ceaseless flow of information that it provides.

Internet and its many tools also give millennial workers the freedom to move around and work at their own comfort. Remote working is no longer a frowned upon concept, instead a mainstream work culture that is soon spreading across the world. Millennial employers expect to work at their own comfort from their homes or while traveling. Fixed working hours, physical presence and mandatory attendance all turn them off. Like mentioned in this article before, their laser focus is on getting things done and achieving results.

They expect a level-field workplace

Being the result-oriented taskforce that they are, millennial workers expect a level-field workplace. They expect employers to place value for work quality, results and professionalism. Old age yardsticks of experience, certifications, academic credentials, etc. no longer are valid measure of work quality.

As a result, millennial workers are also thirsty for quick succession in their job roles. They don’t like being skipped over for promotions and raises due to lack of work experience of other management criteria.

They expect comfortable workspaces

Millennial workers take pride in working at places that reinvent traditional workspace experiences. Google Facebook, Amazon, YouTube have all set new benchmarks as to how modern workspaces should look and feel.

These workplaces not only have the basic amenities for comfortable working in place, but also include several motivators that are attuned to impress millennial workers. According to Herzberg’s Theory Two Factor Theory employees are motivated to work by two factors. One, motivators and two hygiene factors.

Hygiene factors are essentials the absence of which could be detrimental to the motivation of employees. Motivators, on the other hand are what modern workspaces are rich in. They provide job satisfaction and enable workers to do more in their respective works.

They expect respect for socio-cultural sensitivities

Traditional work environments were highly stereo-typed and biased. They had little consideration towards the socio-cultural sensitivities of workers, especially to those related to race, sexual orientation, cultural background and so on.

Millennial workers, who consider themselves as global citizens treat every cultural and social practice as one and the same. They expect their employers to do the same, failing to which their loyalty wavers towards new opportunities. In fact, millennial generations are infamous for changing jobs frequently than other generations. According to Gallup’s study on How Millennials Want to Work and Live, at least 21% of them switch jobs within the year and 60% are open to new opportunities.

In a nutshell

For the average manager who hails from the previous generation of workforce, understanding millennial workers could be a difficult task. Millennials have a wholly different world view which also leads a different expectations out of the work they do. Understanding their expectations and creating a workplace environment that matches it can lead to a win-win situation for all.

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