Published on January 19, 2015

Millenials in the workplace


The term Millennials describes the generation born between 1981 until the 2000s. Also called, Generation Y, Generation WE, The Boomerang Generation or the Peter Pan Generation, the Millennials have been previously characterized as lazy, entitled and self-obsessed. One could say Millennials have a pretty bad reputation. On the other hand however, Millennials have also been characterized as open-minded, self-expressive, upbeat and open to new ideas and new ways of living. Millennials have transformed the workplace, since they have a lot of different qualities to offer, but also have different requirements than previous generations.

Characteristics of Millennials:

Flexibility - Millennials demand more flexible work hours and they don’t want to give up their lifestyle for their job. Many Millennials enjoy traveling and they choose jobs that support a balance between spending time with friends and family and a job that fulfils them. Many Millennials don’t have a clear vision for their future, they value independence, mobility and change.

Connected - Millennials are always connected. Social Media is a constant part in the life of a Millennial and it is how they are exchanging, sharing, and receiving information.

Tech-Savvy - This generation is a lot more tech-savvy than any of the previous generations. Millennials expect in this way that their workplace is just as up-to-date in terms of technology and social media.

Team player - Millennials see their workplace also as their social environment. They enjoy team work and become friends with their colleagues.

All these aspects are probably part of the reason that Millennials have such a bad reputation in the eyes of some people: “lazy, entitled and self-obsessed”. They go out into the working world and demand it to play after their rules instead of bending after existing rules as the generation before. It is working well for them and big companies are making efforts to understand Millennials and to recruit them. These companies need to understand that financial security is not the top priority for Millennials when deciding for a job.

How to recruit Millennials:

Office Atmosphere - Employers looking for highly qualified young people should give up on steep hierarchies and should avoid giving their commands top-down. They should focus on creating an inspiring office environment. Millennials want to work in a good atmosphere, making them more innovative and productive.

Just as important is that a Millennial’s personal time is valued and that a flexible schedule is enabled.

Transparency - Millennials want to have a clear communication with their boss for better transparency. They expect them to be very communicative, loyal and authentic.

Entrepreneurial Drive - Millennials have an entrepreneurial drive that should be catered by an employer. It is important to Millennials to make a difference in someone’s life and they appreciate being taken serious and heard in their workplace.

Social Recruitment - Millennials are constantly connected, so logically companies recruit Millennials through social media. This implies that the companies have a good social media presence that attracts Millennials as a potential employer.

Career Advancements - Millennials are constantly looking for Career Advancements in their job. They need to know that there is an opportunity to quickly advance and that their role in the company is valued and challenging.

Leading companies such as Google, Apple and Unilever have reacted to the demands of Millennials and adjust accordingly. They have acknowledged what an asset Millennials are in a world that is always online and constantly changing. Millennials are used to this pace and are faster in reacting to that environment.


Photo 1. The Intern Group

The author
Katrin Terkatz

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