The Next Generation Workforce

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Human Resources

Generation Y, a much sought-after group, also known as “Millennials”, represents a generation of ambitious, confident, hopeful and goal-oriented twenty-something employees who are taking corporate America by storm. They are the workforce of the future and they have an entirely new way of interacting and doing business. What really sets this generation apart from other generations is the way they socialize, communicate and interact with each other. Millennials are more reliant on the internet than previous generations and tend to use it as a mainstream form of communication and networking. They are influenced by their cultural upbringing, and have high-expectations when it comes to their future career and success. Catering to the Workforce of the Future With Baby Boomers fast approaching retirement age, employers are beginning to tap into resources from younger generations, such as Millennials, to help replace the aging workforce upon retirement which will provide a deficit of positions across a variety of industries and locations. Not only will the Millennial generation be helping to fill positions left behind by retiring Boomers, but their upbringing allows them to bring a fresh, new perspective to the workplace making them valuable to any organization. Employers can attract and retain skilled workers from the Generation Y by offering competitive salaries, career track, flexible schedules, and making sure individual employees feel challenged and appreciated. However, Millennials are pushing the envelope a step further, and are asking employers to go beyond traditional compensation and benefits to create an environment that is creative, challenging, team-oriented, fun, and financially rewarding. This generation is vocal about their job expectations, and because they are the workforce of the future, employers are beginning to take notice. There are many factors that these professionals take into consideration when evaluating a job offer, and although salary is important, they are taking the entire benefits and compensation package into account before making a decision. In fact, a recent survey of more than 3,600 business professionals conducted by Nexxt found that more than 50 percent of professionals don’t consider salary the most important factor when deciding to accept a new job. This statistic further supports the idea that Millennials are putting a great deal of weight into untraditional benefits than ever before. To accommodate the wants and needs of the next generation workforce, employers will have to compliment their traditional compensation and benefits packages with unique workplace attributes and company culture. Employers can better attract, retain and motivate Millennial workers by incorporating these tips below:
  • Provide Leadership and Feedback. Millennials look to their leaders as role models and have a strong desire to learn from them. They work hard to achieve the goals their managers set for them and expect to receive honest and constructive feedback based on their performance. Establishing a clear career track which is supported by a performance review process helps employees understand how they are doing in their job and encourages them to keep improving and moving forward in the organization.
  • Offer Unique Benefits. Although this generation wants to be financially compensated for their efforts,they also value non-traditional benefits. Millennials are attracted to organizations that offer unique benefits such as: a game room, an exercise room or healthcare membership reimbursement, peer nominated awards, casual dress or free movie tickets, to name a few.
  • Promote Team Collaboration. Millennials like working with people they get along with and enjoy being friends with co-workers. Employers should create an office space that allows co-workers to share ideas and interact with each other and promotes teamwork. Some ideas to encourage employee interaction include: building an office with low cubicles, establishing strategic teams to focus on various projects and tasks or utilizing a company instant messaging system.
  • Give Back to the Community. Many members of the Millennial generation are showing an interest in community involvement and environmentally-friendly initiatives. When searching for a job, many of these professionals are attracted to employers who have community service projects in place. Employers should establish a community service program that fits within their company culture and make sure to communicate it to potential employees on the company’s website, in job ads, interviews and company collateral.
  • Create a Fun Environment. This generation wants to look forward to going to work everyday and wants to enjoy a fun, friendly and creative environment in which to work and grow as an individual. Millennials are attracted to organizations that promote company gatherings, such as annual team building events or summer barbeques that give employees a chance to have fun and get to know each other at work.
  • Support Growth Opportunity. Make sure individual employees feel challenged and appreciated. This generation wants to learn and likes to participate in projects that allow them to gain valuable hands-on experience.
  • Be Flexible. Millennials like to work hard, but they still desire a life outside of work and are looking for work-life balance. Employers who offer flexibility in employee work schedules such as summer hours, flex-time or work-at-home programs can increase the chance of attracting and retaining these workers.
Planning for the Future As the American workforce continually expands to include professionals from different generations, many organizations are realizing the significance of understanding what each generation values the most in the workplace. By learning about the workforce of the future, employers are able to tailor their compensation packages and company culture to meet the expectations of an increasingly multi-generational workforce. Now more than ever employers must take the Millennial generation into consideration before developing a plan. By getting creative with company benefits, offering flexibility and growth opportunities for employees and promoting teamwork and collaboration, employers will have the best chance of attracting and retaining the workforce of the future.

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