At N2 Publishing, we have a large number of employees from Generation Y-- the millennial generation loosely made up of a post-college workforce in the 20 to mid-30 age bracket. In fact, we’ve hired more than 100 Gen Y’ers in the past few years alone, with dozens of them earning promotions to key leadership positions. As C.O.O., I work closely with this ultra-talented group every day. I’ve assembled a list of my most significant observations as to what distinguishes this specific group of workers.
1. The ever-increasing value of intangible benefits.
Thanks to popular job and career sites, job seekers today are armed with data on compensation plans from competitors. HR departments also know this and are able to position themselves in a flattering spotlight accordingly, making intangible benefits more and more a topic of conversation.
Salary and benefits are still just as important to Generation Y as it was to their parents and grandparents, but the benefits that you can’t crunch in a spreadsheet play a larger role in determining a career direction.
2. Flexible schedule/balance.
Flexibility in scheduling, the ability to work remotely and balance are, without question, things that are on Generation Y’s radar. Their familiarity and comfort with technology makes the notion of being tied to a brick-and-mortar operation increasingly obsolete.
The millennial workforce has had smart phones for years, some of them seemingly more familiar with a world including them, than not. That means that they’re used to making calls, sending emails, face-timing, etc. on the go from home, car, or coffee shop, often at hours outside of the traditional 9-5. Because of this, they scoff at the notion of needing to be at the office as simply a relic of a bygone era.
There was a time when it was just assumed across the board that when you were starting your career, often before marriage and family, that 60-80 hour work-weeks were the norm. Pay your dues as a younger person; then reap the rewards of a cozy middle-manager role later in your career. Today, that’s not the case.
Millennial workers don’t shy away from hard work, and they’re definitely still career driven. They’ve also learned from the mistakes of previous generations, who sacrificed too much for career and never got those years back. The millennial generation wants it all. The millennial is attracted to opportunities that allow for a life outside of the cubicle. I also believe they have a strong sense of their personal “why,” the reason they work, their motivation. Consequently, they seek jobs that allow for the pursuit of it.
Millennial workers are smart, technologically savvy and anxious to make their mark on the world. We’ve all heard stories of the 20-something tech genius who founded and runs a household name company. These stories have increased the confidence of the most ambitious millennial workers in their ability to make strategic decisions. Words like experienced, seasoned and veteran are being replaced by hungry, cutting-edge and aggressive-minded.
Bottom line, the most talented young executives want nothing to do with being micromanaged and want to be involved in the organizational decision-making process. They don’t understand “why” they shouldn’t have a voice, and more often than not, they are right.
The millennial worker isn’t conditioned to just go with the flow and nod their head in agreement to every decision that comes down from the leadership team. They want to know the reason and logic behind decisions, they want to be informed and know the “why” behind it.
In the era of information and social media, companies are always better off being transparent with the “why” behind important directional decisions. All employees may not agree with the logic, but they will greatly appreciate the candidness.