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5 things to remember when working with millennials

5 things to remember when working with millennials

What do Mark Zuckerberg, Michelle Phan, and Andrew Mason have in common?

They've all founded companies—Facebook, Ipsy, and Groupon, respectively. But they also have something else in common: They’re millennials.

Millennials represent a steadily increasing proportion of the workforce and can be found in just about any and every department of your company. For example, by 2025, 75% of employees across the country are expected to be millennials.

So what’s working with millennials like? And how can your organization attract and retain them?

To answer both of these questions, we asked some of the 3 million+ people who use SurveyMonkey every day. In addition, we ran joint studies with OZY and Ladders, where we reached out to more than a 1,000 millennials. Here are our 5 key takeaways:

Over 70% of millennials identify themselves as “extremely” or “very” curious.

Consider this to be great news for your organization. Curiosity drives innovation, which allows you to move your business forward.

Unfortunately, millennials can be hesitant in exercising their curiosity at work. Their top reasons include a “fear of looking stupid” (42%)  and “not getting real answers when they ask questions” (28%).

So how can you encourage your millennial employees to open up? Here are two ideas:

1) Send surveys on a frequent cadence that can be taken anonymously. This gives employees a way to express their ideas truthfully and thoughtfully without the fear of being identified.

2) Foster a culture where management often asks employees questions and takes their responses into account. This encourages employees to not only ask questions to management, but also to their colleagues.

Not everyone likes to operate on a 9-5 schedule. Some feel most productive in the early morning hours while others prefer to work during the evening. When working with millennials, accommodating their individual preferences can make a big difference. 

In a joint survey with career portal Ladders, millennials cited flexible hours and working from home as the top two things they look for when considering a new job offer.

While not every company can accommodate these types of benefits, they may be a draw for some workers.  For example, you can promote them on your careers page and across your social media channels. Over the long run, making these benefits available and universally known increases millennials’ demand to work at your organization.

Millennials prioritize their professional development and they’re willing to pursue it both through their employer and on their own.

Based on a study we ran in partnership with OZY,  we found that millennials have done the following activities during the past 3 years:

  • Registered for a webinar or workshop (50%)
  • Attended a conference (46%)
  • Completed online coursework (36%)

Reward their curiosity by offering training programs at your organization. This initiative will not only resonate with current employees but also with millennial applicants. How do we know? In a survey of millennial women, We found that over a third (38%) said that opportunities for career growth would be the MOST important thing they’d consider when mulling over a job offer.

As an employer, you also stand to benefit. Assuming you’re training your employees in the right areas, they’ll become increasingly confident, content, and productive in their roles. This results in a reduction in employee turnover, an increase in revenue and lower costs for your organization.

To find the right training programs to launch and identify ways to improve those that already exist, consider sending your employees a survey. Once your responses come back, you may also spot certain programs that are no longer relevant and helpful.

Before surveying your employees, check out this page. It includes a variety of training-based survey templates that’ll help your team brainstorm and land on the right questions.

Certain companies are already doing a great job at attracting and engaging with millennial employees.

What are they doing? They’re offering employees a purpose-driven mission.

Millennials want to work for a company that strives to make the world a better place. And for many, it’s more important than their level of compensation. For example, our survey of millennial women found that 69% would rather work for a company whose impact they believe in over one that pays them a ton of cash.

Amazon aims to be the most customer-centric company on Earth, Tesla wants to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport, and SurveyMonkey wants to power the curious. OK, we may have been tooting our own horn with that last one, but you get the idea: Create a mission statement that’s authentic, true to your brand, and purpose-driven. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on working with millennials who are at your company for the right reasons.

As you might expect, millennials rely on websites like Linkedin and Indeed when searching for jobs. But did you know that they also use offline resources, too? For example, nearly half (47%) of millennial women attend job fairs to find the right company and role.

As an employer, this means you’ll need to identify the best in-person opportunities for interacting with prospective employees. Because at the end of the day, if prospective employees can’t find you, they won’t join you.

Working with millennials involves accounting for their specific needs and preferences. They want to express their curiosity, develop professionally, and work remotely on a schedule that suits them best. The more your organization can evolve to accommodate their preferences, the better off your organization will be in attracting and retaining them.

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