What do millennials want from work?

What do millennials really want from the workplace?

You might be weary of hiring too many 20-somethings, but this generation that grew up on Google, TGIF and Bob Saget will account for one of every two workers by 2020.

Unfortunately, the ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled’ stereotypes have made them the poster children for what NOT to hire. Yes, millennials offer plenty of unknowns, but in an alternate universe these youthful doers make stellar candidates.

The trick is to see what millennials really want and upgrade your workplace.

1. No one-man wolf pack

A recent study by IdeaPaint found that 74% of millennials value working as a team. Encourage unity by setting an example. Millennials can learn through good mentorship.

A simple high-five goes a long way. Grab your workmate’s favourite snack and leave it on their desk as a surprise. Bring in coffee from the local coffee shop on Monday mornings. Now that’s what we call teamwork.

2. You better werk

In the words of my life guru, Miss Britney Spears, getting what you want in life takes werk. Millennials are more motivated to work when it’s for the greater good. Research has stated that 35% of millennials say having a job that makes a positive social impact is important to them.

Before you join forces with Captain Planet, start small. Simple changes can have a big impact. Add recycling bins to the lunch area. Provide volunteer days for a local charity.

Infusing social responsibility into your business model and allowing it to be an everyday behavior can boost the odds in your favour when looking to hire and retain the gen Y.

3. The land of digital natives

The worldwide web is an exciting place these days. For generation Y, today’s digital landscape is the norm – millennials live life within 140 characters and six-second videos, and are revolutionising the way we use digital.

When hiring, post the job on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Do it, trust me. Or do like I do and get involved in conversations.

Next, find out how to rule at FaceTime. Use of technology like video will help spread ideas and give you an extra boost of awesome – 87% of millennial executives believe video has a significant and positive impact on an organisation.

4. Where dreamers become doers

This generation of innovators often dreams of a modern workplace where work ethic is sustained by passion and creativity. Over half would leave corporate America if they were confident being an entrepreneur would pay the rent. Millennials do not value money over meaningful work.

 This generation of innovators often dreams of a modern workplace where work ethic is sustained by passion and creativity.

 The reality is that companies need to make millennials feel as if they are not ‘settling’. Translation: Make this their dream job. Set creative goals – teach them something new, schedule time to dream up new ideas, help them find creative solutions.

Let them forge a new path for the company while still helping them define edges along the way. This will foster a creative, transparent environment for you and your business.

5. #WorkLife

Millennials love to work hard and live hard. Replace the conference table with a foosball table, swap the swivel desk chairs for beanbag chairs and say goodbye to the office dress code. Quirky perks like midday workout breaks, flexible holiday time, seasonal half-days and the opportunity to commute are what this generation wants. Try out ‘bring your dog to work’ day. Not only can dogs reduce stress at the office, but they also add exercise.

By catering to employees’ mental and physical wellness as well as supplying them with a bit more free time, you’ll have employees who are more engaged during the workday and happier to be working for you.

While you may be a business vet who has pretty much written the book on how your industry works, this new generation of wannabe leaders can show us what’s coming next.

These young entrepreneurs are inspiring and generous. They’re built from the culture you created. Let them go forth and conquer.

Anna Crowe, seoWorks