Holiday Wish List: 4 Things Millennial Employees Really Want

employee productivity

This just in: Millennials prefer ham to turkey on their holiday plates.

It's not surprising that the quest to understand Millennial employees - officially the largest generation - would extend all the way to dinner. What is surprising is how much we still have to learn about them. The fact is, today's young people are probably not at all what you think. If you ask what they want from a job (and we did) their answers might surprise you. And there are payoffs - in things like recruitment and retention -- for employers who take note.

This holiday season, what's really the way to a Millennial's heart?

Let 'em Learn

Think today's young people just want a paycheck? Think again. When we asked more than a thousand Millennials last year what mattered to them in a job, about two thirds told us they'd rather have a job where they could learn stuff versus a regular pay raise.  In fact, roughly the same number would give up raises for growth opportunities.

Listen Up

Young people want to work at home, right? Not necessarily. In fact, a really interesting tidbit that came out of our recent webinar with IBM was young people's desire to be connected. "You will have heard previously a lot of companies have invested heavily in flexible work options where they work from home," Deborah Butters, IBM's VP of people strategy and talent management told us. "What we're also finding is that the Millennial generation do want to come together. So I think what we're seeing is that agenda on flexibility is moving forward in different ways than what we would have experienced in the past."

Offer Opportunity

The prevailing theory is that Millennial employees will just hop from job to job leaving  a trail of employers in their wake. That might be true of some (as it would be for any generation), but most - 83% - told us their overwhelming preference would be to stay with one company. What would keep them? You guessed it... growth opportunities.

Support Their Fiscal Fitness

You already know Millennials aren't all about money - but they are about smart money. Almost three quarters are already thinking about retirement goals. So helping them get there - maybe offering to repay some of that $1.3 trillion in college debt - is a great way to get their attention.

Perhaps most importantly, remember Millennials are not just a single thing. As today's largest generation, there are millions of them; and with an age span of around 18 to 35, their life stages range from just entering college to well into their parenting years. So trying to support them all with a single strategy is going to fall flat.

As IBM's Deborah Butters put it, keeping up requires constantly reimagining what a talent strategy should look like. Today, "Not only is it about how it will change traditional functions in HR," she said at the webinar," but also changing the way we are organizing work and the way work gets done."

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Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.