Millennials are officially the largest generation in our workforce. According to the latest Pew study on workforce trends, "as of 2017 -- the most recent year for which data are available -- 56 million Millennials (ages 21 to 36 in 2017) were working or looking for work. Fifty-three million Generation Xers accounted for a third of the labor force. And 41 million Baby Boomers represented a quarter of the total. Millennials surpassed Gen Xers in 2016."

The generation coming behind Millennials ("Nexters," or Gen Z -- born after 2000) will make up 20 percent of the global workforce in 2020. So, within two years, more than 60 percent of the workforce will be Millennials and Nexters.

This group has no intention of working for or leading traditional companies. They've watched their parents overwork their entire lives, only to emerge exhausted and burned out. 

In 2016, Deloitte conducted a global survey of 4,300 Millennials to uncover what matters to the future generations of leaders. They found that Millennials are not loyal to their employers. The survey revealed that 25 percent would leave their current jobs within a year if possible, 44 percent would leave within two years, and 66 percent expect to leave within three years. This is completely opposite of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers who value employee loyalty over everything. 

1. Millennials Want Leadership Development Opportunities

The primary catalyst for attrition is lack of leadership development opportunities.

Across the board, only 28 percent of Millennials feel that their current organizations "are making full use of the skills they currently have to offer." Millennials recognize that leadership skills are critical to professional growth, but believe that businesses are not doing enough to build the next generation of leadership. If businesses would do more to develop leaders, Millennials would be more loyal. 

2. Millennials Want Ethical Agendas

Millennials are skeptical of organizational agendas:

  • Sixty-five percent of Millennials believe companies focus on their own agendas, rather than considering a wide society
  • Only 58 percent believe that organizations behave ethically
  • Only 57 percent believe that leaders are committed to improving society
  • Fifty-four percent believe that their companies have no ambition besides making money

Personal values have "the greatest influence on Millennial's decision making." As leaders, this demographic will align their decisions with their personal values as much as on the financial impact on an organization. 

3. Millennials Place People Before Profits

Millennials believe if you prioritize the well-being of your people, then your profits will follow. Specifically, the survey revealed a focus on these organizational priorities:

  • Providing a good income to employees
  • Being the best place to work
  • Improving the skills of the workforce
  • Providing goods and services that make a positive difference to people's lives
  • Generating and supporting jobs

4. Millennials Value Mentorship

Millennials are most loyal to organizations that they believe are invested in their growth. They greatly appreciate the opportunity to be mentored. Ninety-four percent of Millennials surveyed shared that they are receiving highly impactful guidance from a mentor, and it is making a significant impact in their professional growth. 

Tips to Effectively Recruit Millennials

As the labor market continues to tighten, organizations should follow these guidelines:

  • Support work-life balance
  • Provide opportunities to progress and build leadership skills
  • Offer flexible work arrangements
  • Promote a sense of "meaning" in employees' work
  • Avoid a sole focus on growth or profitability as a recruiting message

Baby Boomers are retiring at a pace of 10,000 per day. Consequently, leaders who have invested 20 to 40 years in building their visions must pay attention to who is coming up behind them. It's highly likely that they will be incorporating Millennials and Nexters into their succession planning. Bringing in top young talent now, and providing them opportunities to contribute and grow, will pave the way for business growth and continuity for years to come.