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What Millennials Are Looking For

May 11, 2016 by Meredith Brandt

Millennials may be the newest generation dominating the workforce, but some think they are the most challenging to understand. Research on millennials has shown that one of themost significant labor problems businesses are having is millennial worker retention. And while the question as to why is commonly asked, there have been commonalities in millennial responses. It’s time for businesses to step up and address what millennials want in order to retain talent and upkeep their workforce. This is especially important because, as stated by Vip Sandhir, CEO of HighGround, an employee engagement software company, in a recent Bloomberg article, “Losing and acquiring new employees is costly, even more so for management jobs.”


Millennials want…

  • Opportunities to grow

A Deloitte study from 2016 claimed that, “More than six in 10 Millennials (63 percent) say their leadership skills are not being fully developed.” Millennials prize leadership and leadership opportunities. And it’s not just a matter of seeing a chance for a promotion – millennials want support and training for leadership roles and want to be in an environment that encourages its younger employees to make such strides.

  • Mentorship

In light of millennials’ desire for leadership, one way companies can retain younger workers is by establishing mentorship relationships with older employees. A mentor-mentee relationship benefits both parties as well as establishes a personal connection that both encourages millennial employees to stay with an organization while also showing them what their future could look like. Having a higher-up take time and interest in young employees can make all the difference in the employee feeling like he or she should remain.

  • Purpose

While the concept of a purpose-driven workforce is not solely concentrated on the millennial workforce, it is a factor that contributes a great deal to millennials’ happiness and success. As an article from Forbes Magazine states, “Millennials need direction and meaning, an interesting mixture of altruism and self-interest.” By ensuring that a company’s culture promotes purposeful employees, by encouraging purposeful work, and by creating an environment that allows for purposeful career planning, businesses can set themselves up to be the prime spot for millennials seeking fulfillment from their workplace.

  • Balance

A survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that, ““Finding time for me” is the most prevalent challenge faced by millennials who are managers in the US (76%) followed by “getting enough sleep” and “managing personal and professional life” (67%).” In a world that increasingly blurs the line between work and outside life, millennials are seeking flexibility in their jobs that allows them the balance they need.


An important thing to note, especially for those of older generations who are struggling to connect with millennials, is that they’re not so different than you are. Multiple studies have found that, while what workers want does vary based on age, it actually has more to do with stage in life than generational membership. Of course, as technology and times have changed, so has the workforce, so millennials may be expecting something slightly different than Boomers did at the same age, but, overall, there aren’t huge differences.

Make sure to always be attuned to what your employees are lacking; for millennials, it’s important to address their needs before they bounce to their next job opportunity.

Meredith Brandt

Meredith Brandt

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