Millennials are here to stay. They are likely to make up over 50% of the working population by 2020, and 75% by 2025.
They are a source of serious concern for companies everywhere as the opportunities for them to work are increasingly varied and their reasoning behind choosing which company to work for have changed extensively compared to the previous generation.
Where the brightest math minds would have been more likely to work at big accountancy firms, today they could work across data platforms, in programming or even start their own company from university. The accessibility that the internet has afforded to this generation has given them more opportunities than any before them.
People are not simply interested in how much money they can make, although this is certainly a factor. Now they are also looking at a fun work environment, where they can be expressive and not simply chained to a desk for 10 hours every day. It means that leaders need to be more creative in how they are running their company and creating their working environments.
This is the single point that most companies are predominantly worried about, as many of the existing needs of their working environments needs to be totally flipped.
But is this something that they need to be looking at to attract millennials?
This is something they need to be looking at to attract and keep any of their employees.
The change that millennials have brought about is not that they are more fussy about where they work, but instead have made many companies change how they work to attract them. This does not mean that a particular company is better for a millennial, but is instead simply a better place to work in general.
Some of the things that they demand, such as flexible working hours and locations, good renumeration and a fun working environment are wanted by the vast majority of people. It is simply that with more companies offering this kind of package, those who aren’t are being ignored for companies that are better to work for.
This change has not necessarily come from the needs of millennials needing to be met, but instead with millennials creating these environments for themselves when founding companies. When many of these have grown so quickly, expanding to create more jobs, millennials are the ones who have been attracted to it as these working spaces have essentially been designed for them, by their peers.
Think about Google as a prime example.
They were founded in 1998 and have become successful through both the people they attract (some of their most profitable products have come from simple ideas lead by employees) and their work ethic (each employee has 20% of their time dedicated to personal projects). This has combined to create a strong and effective place to work that most people would appreciate.
This kind of thing may not be possible at existing large companies from the foundation up, but if somebody had the option to work in an older company with a regular office or a company focussed around the needs of their employees, which would most choose?
Millennials have changed the workplace, but it has been as much about the workplaces they have created as the workplaces that they demand. The more companies who accept this foundational change rather than simply adding a ping pong table to their office, the more attractive they will become to the millennials who they want working for them.