Millennials are sometimes referred to as Generation Y or, like generations before them – from Baby Boomers to Generation X – the ‘me generation’ (or by Time Magazine last month, the “Me Me Me Generation”).
Magazine editors, at least, view each new generation as more narcissistic than the last, so we won’t dwell too much on Millennial traits and values (this article in the Atlantic disputes most of those anyway). Instead, let’s think about what Generation Y’ers expects in the workforce, what the reality is for them and what we can do to stimulate their entrepreneurial spirit.
Millennials are productive
According to research by the Economic Policy Institute, quoted in that Atlantic article, productivity has soared since 1995, but wages have remained stagnant. So, while we’re all working hard, we’re not necessarily getting well paid.
Millennials demand flexible working
Employers may not be able to offer high wages, but they can meet another need Millennials share. According to a two-year research programme, conducted by the University of Southern California and London Business School, 64% of Millennials would like to occasionally work from home and 66% would like the option to occasionally shift their work hours.
“The Millennial generation is already transforming long-held management practices within the workplace,” said Dennis Finn, Vice Chair and Global Human Capital Leader at PwC. “Employers who want to recruit Millennial employees and keep them engaged and happy will need to adapt to meet their needs.”
Millennials are well connected
The generation that came before them ushered in the Internet and the possibility of work from home. Millennials are demonstrating that it’s possible to work – and work just as well – on the move. They are connected, via smartphones and tablets, and for them working 40 hours a week from an office is no longer a necessity.
Millennials are green
According to the Rapid Learning Institute, almost 50% of the Millennial generation has participated in some kind of community service within the last 12 months. They use green initiatives, they’re charitable and they expect corporate civic responsibility from their employers too.
Millennials like to collaborate
Exposure to social and mobile apps has set an expectation of collaboration amongst Generation Y’ers. Employers would be wise to incorporate these kinds of apps into their workflow and create an open and accessible environment that promotes the sharing of ideas. Better still, embrace co-working spaces…
Read more about the flexible work revolution in PGi’s latest free eBook “The Yin + Yang of Telecommuting,” featuring a guest chapter from yours truly!
San Sharma (@sansharma) is a blogger for WorkSnug (@WorkSnug), a mobile app and website that helps you find laptop-friendly workspaces, like co-working spaces, near you.