A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that Millennials will comprise 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. Based on the law of averages, within three years, your company will likely have more Millennial employees than any other age cohort. To exacerbate this shift, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reports that 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day.

With this impending swing, companies need to make culture adjustments now if they plan to be competitive in the 2020 talent market. In the same SHRM report, here's what Millennials identify as the key components to attractive workplace cultures.

Job-specific training

Per Millennials Who Manage by Chip Espinoza, one of the biggest challenges facing Millennials in the workplace is a lack of experience.

"Millennials are keenly aware that they lack work experience, and they know the limitations this places on them with respect to getting what they want." -- Espinoza

It makes sense, then, that Millennials would be drawn to companies that provide training and invest in the advancement of their job skills. Nothing is more frustrating than being held responsible for something that you feel ill-equipped to handle. Make sure that your organization is leveraging existing resources and investing in new ways to train your Millennial employees.

Still not convinced? In a Huffington Post article, The Association for Talent Development (ATD) found that firms who invest in comprehensive training enjoy a 24 percent higher profit margin and generate 6 percent higher shareholder return if the training spend per employee increases by $680.

Career advancement opportunities

Millennials need to know and understand the bigger picture. It gives meaning and purpose to daily tasks and responsibilities -- something worth working towards. Plus, it's a major factor when it comes to employee retention strategies.

A Deloitte survey, Talent 2020, indicated that when employees were asked to specify a reason that would drive them to consider new opportunities "lack of career progress" was at the top of the list.

I can attest to the fact that it's hard for recruiters or competing organizations to entice employees with career progression and trajectory opportunities when they're already occurring it in their current role. Believe me, I've tried.

Career development

In a Gallup report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, 59 percent of Millennials say that opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important when applying for a job. Also, a staggering 87 percent rated "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as being vital.

Okay, you get it. Development is a big deal. Unfortunately, companies are still not getting the picture.

In an article from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Dian Spiegal, CEO of The End Result, a corporate training/leadership company, provides a good summary of what Millennials are looking for and it includes the following components:

  • Coaching. Millennials were raised with constant coaching and feedback and expect it to continue in the workplace. It doesn't have to be overly-complicated, but real-time feedback, support, and communication are key.
  • Collaboration. Millennials are natural collaborators and appreciate opportunities to work, observe and interact with others.
  • Measures. In other words, clear expectations and structure. Millennials grew up being constantly assessed and like to understand the key metrics for which they are being evaluated.
  • Motivation. Millennials want to be inspired and feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves -- that their work has a purpose. Also, providing a psychologically safe environment, one that's free from criticism and promotes interpersonal risk taking, enhances and encourages contribution.

The business landscape is changing. Are you? By altering your company's culture course to address these major Millennial concerns, you'll simultaneously attract top talent while retaining your top performers.

Published on: Mar 23, 2017