The end result is a gradual shift toward company cultures and values that appease these millennial demands, and if businesses don’t want to be outcompeted, they need to become familiar with them, and adopt them.
The Value of Culture
First, millennials value company culture more than any other generation that’s come before them. Even though the idea of “corporate culture” has been around since the 1970s, only recently has it started to become a bigger priority for workers.
On average, millennials would be willing to give up $7,600 in salary every year to work at a job that provided a better environment for them. That’s a significant departure from generations past, who typically value salary as one of the most important factors in choosing a job. In your recruiting efforts, your emphasis should shift toward marketing and building your culture, to attract the best possible candidates (and retain them as long as possible).
But what kind of “culture” elements do millennials value?
Corporate Social Responsibility
According to Cone Communications, 70 percent of millennials are willing to spend more with brands that support causes they care about. Considering they control about $2.5 trillion in spending power, that represents massive buying potential. A brand’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are the best place to develop these initiatives.
Of course, not all millennials value the same types of causes. Generally, environmental responsibility and fighting against climate change are popular areas, as are volunteering and working with charities. These efforts not only support a positive brand image that millennials want, they also give back to the community.
Diversity and Inclusion
More than any other generation, millennials consider themselves politically independent, religiously unaffiliated, and interested in a wide variety of different nations, cultures, ideas, and beliefs. They want to travel, and be exposed to new things. That’s why, increasingly, millennials are flocking to companies with better diversity and inclusion programs.
There are no strict rules for what these programs should include or how they should operate, but they should encourage businesses to hire and work with a more diverse range of people, and give workers more chances to see different sides of the world.
It’s frequently reported that millennials want a healthy work-life balance, and the statistics suggest this is true. Millennial professionals want to work in an environment that prioritizes the health and happiness of its workers—even if it means giving up a bit of pay.
Again, there are no strict definitions here, but healthy work-life balance environments often allow for flexible hours, flexible vacation time, personal time, and an appreciation for personal needs (occasionally over professional needs). It may also include working from home, or accommodations for personal responsibilities like parenthood. Companies that want their employees to sacrifice everything for their jobs aren’t going to survive.
Ideas Above Things
Millennials are somewhat idealistic, but not in a naïve way. They recognize the value of ideas, more than their previous generational counterparts, and are more willing to work for a company that creates and nurtures those ideas.
Not only does it make millennials feel like they’re a part of something bigger, it also provides fuel for change and growth.
Feedback and Growth
Speaking of growth, millennial workers are demanding it—both in corporate and individual contexts. In general, millennials want more feedback on their performances, in part because they want the affirmation, and in part because they want to keep learning and improving.
They’ve been raised in an era of fast-paced corporate growth and practically limitless potential, so it’s natural for them to seek personal development at all costs.
Engagement and Purpose
Millennials crave a sense of purpose and want to feel engaged at work; while this is a subjective feeling, it’s relatively easy to instill. Businesses have to make workers feel like their work truly matters, and that they’re working toward a worthwhile goal. In fact, this can result in a competitive advantage over the majority of businesses; only 29 percent of millennials currently feel like they’re “engaged” at their jobs.
It’s not a good business practice to build a company culture around what a business thinks its workers would like, but it’s also dangerous to completely neglect these shared values. Company culture is bound to become even more important in the future, so businesses need to think carefully about how they want to be seen, both by workers and customers.
The brand choices businesses make today will affect their talent pool, image, and ultimately, their chances of success.