They’ve been called demanding, live-in-the-moment individuals who’d rather play
than work. On the flip side, they’ve also been described as ambitious, efficient
workers eager to make a significant contribution. Whatever your perceptions are
of Generation Y—individuals born between 1979 and 1999—these young professionals
are joining and transforming today’s workplaces. To successfully recruit and
retain this group, your company needs to know what millennials most care about
on the job.
In a recent survey, 1,000 members of this generation, ages 21 to 28,
explained what they value at work. The survey, jointly commissioned by Robert
Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs, provides valuable insight that can help
your firm attract and retain these workers.
- Compensation counts. Salary was the most important job
consideration cited among survey respondents, with benefits close behind. Gen
Y-ers worry about the solvency of Social Security and understand the importance
of retirement planning. To address these concerns, your firm should make the
best salary offer possible—up-front, not in bonuses that come a year from
now—with generous, clearly presented health and retirement benefits.
- Encourage growth. Those surveyed listed opportunities for
growth and advancement as the third most important job consideration. They grew
up using technology and participating in many extra-curricular activities, so
Gen Y-ers will feel bored if they aren’t challenged. Try to make jobs more
diverse by assigning challenging projects that develop skills such as team
leadership, business management and client service. Mentoring programs,
compensation for professional development activities and explaining career paths
within the company can make these workers feel appreciated.
- Cultivate communication. Though they grew up with parents
who were very involved, Gen Y-ers don’t like being micromanaged. Instead, they
want a lot of feedback. Annual reviews are not enough; 35% of survey respondents
said they like to talk with their bosses several times daily, while a quarter
said once per day is ideal. When they get feedback, Gen Y-ers prefer that it be
straightforward. Just as they value communication with their managers, these
workers also like to feel connected to their coworkers. Team-building activities
and socializing activities help keep these individuals engaged.
- Support balance. As much as Gen Y-ers want to perform well
professionally, they also value their personal lives. Companies that offer perks
that help them maintain work/life balance will be rewarded with greater loyalty.
Rethinking traditional career paths or advancement timetables, or offering
job-sharing, telecommuting, or compressed workweeks can help keep these
employees more satisfied.
Source: Robert Half International