Posted on December 15, 2015

Millennials: What Do They Really Want?

With more millennials joining the workforce each year, the issue of finding the best and brightest to hire becomes a more prevalent issue. But one question may be harder to answer for this generation than previous ones: What is it that millennials want from a career?

Millennials want an interesting, varied lifestyle

Recent college graduates and Gen-Yers face a similar choice as their parents: deciding between more money (and stability) or a higher ceiling of opportunity. But for the more recent generation, aka millennials, there is an undercurrent of seeking independence and diverse experiences, which makes their decisions more nuanced. Things are not as black and white as they were for previous generations.

Apple is one of the better brands at portraying their products as a lifestyle. Their marketing has long applied a millennial aesthetic: life is grand and full of amazing experiences to be lived.

Take away the Apple part and that pretty well describes the millennial generation’s core values:

* To live an interesting, social, and memorable life, especially while in their 20s

* To be as happy with what they do for a living as they are with their social life

* To see interesting new places and be surrounded by interesting people

* To be entertained constantly

In short, millennials want a life worth living and sharing and they want their career to fit into that. For them, a job that gives them new places to see, interesting new people to meet, and experiences worth remembering and sharing is one key to their happiness.

Millennials want opportunity more than anything

But this isn’t limited solely to upward advancement. That’s not to say a long-term millennial hire is necessarily an oxymoron, the process just takes more attention. Hiring managers need to learn the desires that prospective millennial employees have for their lives, careers, and future.

Part of it springs from the previous point—they want the opportunity to live their most interesting and exciting life. This is, after all, the generation that coined the phrase “fear of missing out”.

But one of millennials’ more prominent professional differentiators is an innate entrepreneurial spirit. That can manifest as a sort of wanderlust to live a wider range of experiences before they consider settling down and starting a family. More than that, though, is a drive to contribute and innovate.

In a way, millennials are a generation that is more aware of their impact on the world around them, having grown up in the age of true globalization. They don’t want to waste time or waste chances to make a legacy. They want to know more, see more, and do more than the generations that have come before them.

A company that understands this drive can provide millennials with opportunities that are both related and unrelated to their current work. Offering millennials this type of variety in their work gives employers a better chance of retaining and getting the most from millennial hires.

Millennials want guidance

This is where an HR professional can really shine—millennials want opportunity but they also want guidance. Part of the opportunity they seek is to be mentored and educated by their employer. This is nothing terribly new—we’ve all looked for answers and certainty when beginning our careers or starting at a new job.

With millennials, those needs are still there, but they are made more complex by the diversity of life and work experiences millennials want to have. Above all, they want honesty from their employer about whether the company’s vision for them is the same as their own. A company that hires millennials has to be adaptive in order to engage and retain them.

Organizational development takes on greater importance as well: how does your company supply its millennial employees with avenues to the fulfillment of their career goals while maintaining a consistent corporate culture? How do you motivate the generation that will inhabit your middle and upper management in a decade or two? How can you help millennials do more than adopt your corporate culture, but also add to it and improve it?

This is where Paycor can help. We know HR and organizational development requires a lot of knowledge and answers to new, perplexing questions. Our expertise in constructing meaningful and long-lasting employee life cycles can help with the identification, hiring, and retention of those millennials with all their joie de vivre and potential. Check out some of our resources below, or contact us to learn more about how we can help you manage your most important asset: your people.

Related Resources:

Webinar: Best Practices for Hiring Right

Employee Engagement: Why You Can't Afford to Get It Wrong

Tips for Managing Millennials


Article Sources: The New York Times, Chief Learning Officer


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