What Millennials Really Want from the Workplace
The Millennial generation will be the majority of the workforce by 2025, but the traditional hierarchical organization will not satisfy them for long. This generation has never known life without the internet or a mobile phone; they are accustom to be connected anywhere at any time. Only communicating with co-workers from 9 to 5, scheduling to meet with the boss to give a status review or staying in one position indefinitely is not in their make-up.
This generation had significantly different values, beliefs and expectations than the Baby Boomer generation. Millennials want workplace flexibility over pay, and a role that makes a valuable impact on the firm’s direction and strategies. From the moment that a Millennial comes in for an interview, they need to see the firm understands and is committed to their needs.
Belief in the Greater Good
Millennials are primed to do well by giving back. They respond to an organization that is environmentally friendly, civically engaged and supports employee volunteering. When a prospect sees eco-friendly flooring, bike accessibility and recycled materials in the furnishings, they know the organization has the same values they do.
Accessibility and Collaboration
This generation has always had access to information through the internet. They expect to be able to access their work, co-workers and research at any time and any place. Millennials have grown up in an integrated social environment. They work best in teams, using technology. Office spaces have adapted with open floor plans, and Activity-based workspaces.
Conference rooms can open or close walls as needed, floor-to-ceiling glass walls creates a transparency and visibility throughout the workplace.
Often Millennials will prefer to work in a “coffee-shop” setting using wi-fi, as opposed to their own cubicle. Millennials view work as a “thing” not as a “place”, and they want the flexibility to do their thing when they want.
Mintz and Hoke Casual Meeting SpaceOf course flexible work hours are also attractive to workers of other generations, so desk and cubicle space sharing is becoming more common – one person uses the space from 6am until noon, and another person uses it from 2pm until 7pm.
Ultimately, in a mobile cloud-based paperless office, the majority of work will be performed in communal settings, not at dedicated desks.
After all the discussion on collaboration and working in groups, it’s important to remember that Millennials are also individuals, and they like to express their individuality in their work space. It should become their living environment. When cubicles are needed, being able to change the wall colors and add accessories like bike hooks and personal seating, are important for Millennials to feel at home.
Additionally, work space will have a higher cubicle “churn”, changing from one layout to another, as the work needs adapt to various projects. The Millennial workplace has a more entrepreneurial feel about it, and the team will rally around a big project, requiring their space to adapt and move with them.
Millennials are just hitting that critical mass to start changing the work environment. The first of that generation are now in their 30’s and have been in the workplace for 10 or more years. Organizations have had a breather from having to change in the last five years, due to the recession, but now that the recovery is in hand and Baby Boomers are starting to retire, smart companies have to adapt in order to attract and retain the best of the Millennials.
When recruiting Millennials, it begins by creating a work environment that adjusts and adapts as quickly as the they do.