5 things millennials in the workforce look for

What is the most important way to increase both the number of potential job candidates and your employee retention rate? The answer is simple: Find out what people are looking for in a job—and offer it to them. Of course, the hourly wage or salary is important. But keep in mind that for millennials in the workforce, there are many other factors that matter just as much when it comes to taking a job–or leaving one. No matter how great your company is or how persuasive your recruiters are, if your employees and potential new employees aren’t happy with what you are offering them, they are likely to leave or not even take the job in the first place.

So how do you make your organization and individual roles attractive for both new applicants and current millennial employees? Follow these six steps and you’ll be well on your way:

1.  Understand who they are

Understanding the variety of attributes that define millennials is crucial for positioning your company and job responsibilities.

To help you in getting started, here are some data points from a study we conducted with The Ladders, in addition to other research available in the market:

2. Give the opportunity to learn and grow

Both personal and career growth are essential for millennials in the workforce. In fact, the opportunity for career growth is the most important factor for them when choosing a job. And they aren’t willing to wait very long. 80% say they want a promotion within the first two years.

To address their desire for growth, make sure your managers are open to coaching them with clear and frequent feedback. When they do something well, they want to have it pointed out. When they do something poorly, they want that to be pointed out as well, along with instruction on how to do it better.

3. Look for personal engagement opportunities

Millennials in the workforce have a strong desire to be highly engaged by what they do. Allowing them to create and run their own committees, task forces, and/or teams to improve the workplace allows them to harness their sense of mission. Without creating a sense of personal engagement, you risk losing these valuable employees to more purpose-driven companies.

Here are additional ways that millennials in the workforce seek to engage:

  • Millennials want to be valued personally. They need to feel like they have access to real people at work. Offer them more than just annual reviews; take advantage of multiple opportunities to interact with them and touch base on their progress. This shows that you care about them as real people.
  • They want to be part of a team. Millennials have a desire to advance the welfare of groups—including their work group—over individual success.
  • They need a sense of belonging. They are used to creating virtual and real-life communities built around shared interests, values, and goals. Employers who cultivate this sense of community at work attract and retain millennials.

4. Give them a chance to make a difference

Integrating environmental programs and philanthropy into your work environment can help set you apart from your competitors – both for potential new employees and for Millennial customers.

  • Millennials are willing to cross geographical, socioeconomic, and other boundaries based on common causes. Purpose matters more to them than labels.
  • They care about the environment. They have grown up with an unprecedented concern and respect for the environment and the desire to protect and preserve it.
  • Your company’s mission matters to them. In fact, many millennials care more about this than they do their salaries. And women are even more likely to choose mission over money.

5.  Show authenticity and uniqueness

Companies need to do more than just include catch-phrases related to work-life balance to attract millennials. Your employer brand must be rooted in honesty and authenticity, and if it isn’t, desired applicants will quickly find out.

  • Millennials are willing to ask the question, “What do I get for working here?” This includes the benefits and rewards employees receive from your company but it also includes your organization’s values and its actual day-to-day practices.
  • They are able to do the research. Millennials grew up in the technological era of instant research. They are willing to look for information, including feedback from companies like Glassdoor, regarding your company’s reviews, approval ratings, salaries, interview evaluations, benefits, and much more. With easy access to employer information, the stakes for ignoring your company mission and values are higher than ever.

6. Offer a flexible job that fits in with their life

Employees today aren’t happy to merely log in eight hours behind a desk doing the minimum amount of work required until they can clock out. The job benefits and perks that millennials care most about are those that provide them with greater flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to lead a better life overall. In order to attract millennials, be sure to communicate the benefits that come with your company, and also continue to remind existing employees of these important perks.

  • They want a happy work-life balance. Gallup research shows that millennials care intensely about their work-life balance and feel that having a life outside of work is just as important as having a job.
  • They expect telecommuting and flex scheduling. Flexibility in work schedules and the ability to work remotely at least part of the time are commonplace in today’s workforce. Millennials are great at working in their pajamas or while sitting at a coffee shop. The Gallup study found that employee engagement is actually higher when they split their time between working remotely and working in an office with their coworkers. In fact, optimal engagement comes when employees spend 60 to 80% of their time working offsite.
  • Provide basic benefits. Millennials consider some benefits so important that they are worth taking, leaving, or changing jobs for. These include retirement plans with an employer match, paid leave and vacation, health insurance, and life insurance.

Even after following these tips, it may be worth evaluating how your millennial employees feel. For personalized feedback, use an employee engagement survey. You can include a question that asks for the employee’s age, and then easily filter the responses to see how millennials responded to the other questions.

Looking to hear from millennials in the workforce who are outside of your company? SurveyMonkey Audience lets you survey millennials across industries, locations, and backgrounds to better understand their demands and align your organizational resources appropriately.