Commuters waiting in a station for a train, and using their mobile devices.

 

When discussing millennials and their attitudes towards work and life in general, one word that comes up in many conversations is “snowflakes”. It is a common belief that many of those born around the years 1982-2004, the typical age range that we call millennials, were also brought up with certain expectations of life. It seems as if they are convinced they are all unique in their own way, and therefore deserve to be treated the best.

This is thought to have led to this generation to focus more on the pleasures of life, such as going out and traveling, and caring less about saving for retirement or a mortgage.

In early 2017, Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner made headlines when saying “when I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying a smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” suggesting that millennials are frivolous with their money. While Gurner may have been oversimplifying the many reasons why millennials are not homeowners, he was right about the fact it is a phenomenon on the rise.

According to a survey from Pew Research Center, almost one in three U.S. adults has an adult roommate, and a report made by the Resolution Foundation states that one in three of Britain’s millennial generation will never own their own home, forcing them to live and raise their families in insecure privately rented accommodation.

 

Exterior multistory office building, with windows

 

With that gloomy outlook, wouldn’t you be inclined to spend more on the simple pleasures in life? This could be one of the reasons that many millennials are now shifting their way of thinking when it comes to looking for a new job.

Currently, millennials make up about 35 percent of the job market, and by 2025 they are expected to account for 75 percent of the global workforce. According to a Gallup research of the American workplace, approximately four in 10 employees (41 percent) say a considerable increase in income is “very important” to them when evaluating a new job, there are also a significant amount of other factors.

Which Benefits Win Over Millennials?

Business professional individuals holding a discussion around a desk, with laptops open and notebooks

 

The same Gallup research also asked the participates what benefit will have them consider switching to a new job, and focused specifically on the millennial generation.

The leading responses said that 64 percent will change jobs to receive paid vacation (as opposed to only 49 percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers), 63 percent will change their jobs for flexible working hours (47 percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers), 60 percent will do it to receive insurance other than healthcare, 51 percent will do it for flexible work location, where you can work remotely, 45 percent look for tuition and student loans reimbursements, 44 percent wish for maternity leave (37 percent paternity) and 41 percent look for better professional development.

 

Business professionals shaking hands

 

If you look closely at these responses, it seems that we are actually underestimating the millennials and their priorities. While the generation is less focused on the actual monetary compensation, they still may look for it in other ways.

For instance, getting reimbursements for tuition and student loans may not be money in your pocket, but it is a way to get out of debt and lead a better financial future. Requesting additional insurance shows thinking ahead, about physical, as well as financial wellbeing.

Other benefits may show a shift in the way millennials view work-life balance, as well as their emphasis on family. But one thing is for sure, an employer who offers free snacks in the office, bring-your-dog-to-work days, hipster decor and onsite cafes is not the one who will win the millennials over. These employees care about the big things. Let’s break them down.

 

Business professional individuals holding a discussion around a desk, with laptops open and notebooks

 

If you look closely at these responses, it seems that we are actually underestimating the millennials and their priorities. While the generation is less focused on the actual monetary compensation, they still may look for it in other ways.

For instance, getting reimbursements for tuition and student loans may not be money in your pocket, but it is a way to get out of debt and lead a better financial future. Requesting additional insurance shows thinking ahead, about physical, as well as financial wellbeing.

Other benefits may show a shift in the way millennials view work-life balance, as well as their emphasis on family. But one thing is for sure, an employer who offers free snacks in the office, bring-your-dog-to-work days, hipster decor and onsite cafes is not the one who will win the millennials over. These employees care about the big things. Let’s break them down.

 

Flexible Working Hours

A large group of business commuters waiting for a train in an underground station

 

The 9 to 5 which was once a rule of thumb, but it is no longer desirable when it comes to a workplace. This generation of employees has a different attitude towards work-life balance.

While they are less likely to disconnect themselves during the daytime from the outside world (by checking Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp etc.), they are also more likely to continue working after they have left the office. In fact, a research done by Bentley University found that 89% of millennials regularly check their work emails after the workday has ended.

This explains their search for flexible working hours. They wish to be masters of their own time and determine when they are most productive. As a proof, the same Gallup survey from before states that those who say they have flexible work time are 1.4 times more likely to be engaged in their work.

A lot of workplaces are taking this to heart, by allowing their teams to work out of coworking spaces in central locations (such as Liverpool St. in London), where employees can both commute easily and set their schedule more comfortably.

 

Flexible Work Location

Group of young business professionals gathered around a table working outside with laptops and books

 

This point is slightly similar to the one before. While a lot of the millennial workforce values flexibility in the workday, they also appreciate the opportunity to spend at least a few days working from home. This could be due to the fact that millennials have grown up around technology, and are used to being able to carry their work with them wherever they go.

Many millennials have also now started reaching the age where they are considering family, and wish to have the option to balance full-time work with having children. This is truly the generation that wants to have it all.

 

Group of young women practising yoga on the floor of a building with yoga matts

 

Gallup observed that employee engagement rises when the workforce spends part of their time working remotely and part of their time working on a location. The optimal engagement improvement takes place when employees spend three to four days working off-site.

Contrary to popular belief, employees actually don’t tend to slack off when they are left to their own devices, and in fact, there are many ways to keep remote workers engaged. Coworking spaces, for example, help employers provide their staff with both on-and-off-location work, by offering hot desks in offices in popular business districts of most major cities, for example offices in Soho, Central London. The employer saves money on space, while employees use whichever desk is open on their on-location days.

 

Family Comes First

Farther holding is daughter, with a countryside background

 

It seems like a lot of the benefits that will make a millennial consider switching jobs are related to starting and raising a family. As mentioned before, even flexible hours and working location, may not be as selfish as they appear.

This generation of employees may know that they won’t be able to afford to cut back on their hours in order to stay home with their children, so they are trying to find creative ways of working full time to provide to for their family, while still spending quality time with them.

It is also no surprise that millennials are starting to look for better maternity and paternity leave, seeking any way they can to put family first. This also accounts for the search for better health insurance, which will, of course, extend to their family.

 

Better Professional Development

Business professionals working at large wood desks within a large open office space with large hanging lights

 

Millennials are willing to put so much time and effort into their jobs, fully expecting to spend the bulk of their week doing it. As a result, they also expect to receive some personal fulfillment from it. That is why Gallup reported that a whopping 87 percent of this generation rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job.

These development opportunities can come in many shapes and forms. The first and very basic will be the chance to get promoted. Regular raises are also on the list of things millennials consider important to them. Other things that rank highly on the list, especially compared to Gen Xers or Baby Boomers include opportunities to participate in professional courses, conferences, lecture days, learn new skills within the same position, work on personal projects in the workplace, and creating a collaborative work environment.

While offering something like this to employees is probably the easiest one for any employer to offer, many find it difficult to do so. This involves a lot of listening to the workforce and understanding what will make them happy in their development. This can be a major roadblock for a lot of employers, who are used to a more top-down approach, however, it can be as easy as providing monthly feedbacks.

If you’re looking to retain talent, these are just a few key ways to ensure that your millennial workplace stays put. 21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, almost 25 percent of them have worked for five different employers, and 71 percent of millennials are actively seeking a new job.

Offering any one of these benefits may be the thing to get millennials to stay loyal to the same company, and to you. Ensuring that you retain talent is the real key to a long and sustainable workforce.

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