If it hasn’t already happened, it will happen within the next several months – millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest representative generation of worker’s in the United States. The number of millennials in the workplace will continue to grow over the next several years as many in that generation are still in high school and college, and they will be seeking jobs.
When gen x’ers and other generations followed baby boomers at work, they mostly mimicked the expectations that baby boomers had but that is no longer the case. If employers want to maximize their possibility of retaining millennials when they are hired, they will need to adapt the kind of workplace that millennials want to come to.
If they don’t make these adaptations, millennials will leave to find a more satisfying work experience. If that happens, the millennial employee will also take the training they received, and potentially upset the work environment.
Because it takes months and sometimes even longer to appropriately train and assimilate a new employee and get that person working to full effectiveness, it is smart for employers to adapt their work environments to the needs and wants these younger employees seek.
Millennials often seek workspaces with more space and fewer cubicles and offices. The open space allows workers to engage in more collaboration and to trade information with peers. Millennials believe that an open floor plan allows them to remove barriers—both literal and figurative—which will allow them to be more creative and innovative.
When considering space, there are also furniture considerations that cannot only accommodate these workers, but also make the workspace more functional for employees who are more inhibited. These structures can include bookshelf walls that allow a “feeling” of privacy, while also being a part of the openness, or larger potted plants.
Another functional aspect of an open office is the existence of separate rooms. These rooms can be used as conference rooms for group projects as there is always a need for different levels of focus with different participants. Conference rooms also allow a more focused area for client meetings and video conferences. One of these rooms can also be used as a break room if needed.
Millennials enjoy using technology whenever possible. This is the generation that grew up having technology in their homes and in their hands just as soon as they were born. If they know there is an easier way for them to do something, then they want access to that easier way. Sometimes older supervisors are reluctant to order that newer technology because learning to use it is harder for them (the supervisor); but it is not harder for these younger workers.
Recognize what’s important to them
Younger workers want to have a better work-life balance. They want to have a set schedule and to not be on call all of the time. Millennials will take lower pay to have these advantages in their jobs. Millennials have been known to leave a job for a lower paying job just for the stability of having a greater work and life balance.
Not only do consistent hours mean a lot to these younger workers, but they look for benefits such as having a gym or a wellness program at work. A work-place gym can also help recruit job candidates by showing them health and wellness are important to the company.
Millennials have different wishes and desires from earlier generations of workers. They have also been raised hearing that it is not uncommon for workers to have four jobs within the first 10 or 15 years of entering the workforce. Therefore, these younger workers are willing to leave a job for one that better offers what they desire in a work experience.
Check out our blog post Since when was employee appreciation just a Millennial thing? for more information on millennials.