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Is Your Workplace Millennial-Ready? Six Key Traits to Look Out For.

Look closely around you. 9-5 office hours are giving way to remote work scenarios. Face-to-face meetings are getting replaced by chats and video calls. Trust and recognition are getting valued more than salaries and perks. Welcome to Workplace 2.0, the favorite hunting ground for the millennial workforce.

Millennials have invaded your workspace, and they are here to stay. They are young and fast, tech-savvy, and they are also redefining the way you do business. But millennials are also the “job-hopping generation”. So you need to keep them happy and engaged to get the best out of them.

Communication is the key to engagement. The secret lies in understanding what your millennial workers want and tweaking your internal communications accordingly. Here is a list of typical millennial traits that you need to be aware of:

They want to hear and be heard: Millennials are more curious than other generations. Plus, they have grown up with boons of the Internet. They are used to staying updated with the latest in global, local or hyperlocal news. If they sense they are left out of the information chain at their workplaces — even in today’s mobile age — their motivation and productivity will suffer. One of the vital millennial characteristics is that they value transparent, personalized, and relevant updates. Don’t bombard them with information as they tend to lose attention and interest. Touted as an “attention-seeking” generation, millennials are also brimming with ideas that they want to share with the world. Give them a platform to voice out their opinions and see how they shape your business decisions. Most times, millennials will give you a patient hearing as well — they are highly encouraging of feedback.

They want speed: Millennials want everything — and they want it fast! One of the millennial traits in the workplace is that they expect long-drawn company messages to be encapsulated in a short and shareable tweet-like content or even communicated as a picture (which, as they say, is worth a 1000 words). So mini, digestible messages over bulletin board notices and gifs and short video clips over telephone conferences come handy. These forms make for easy tracking and greater recall value.

They want flexibility: According to a recent survey, millennials consider flexibility at work “very important” when choosing to work for an organization. It is very difficult to contain the millennial workforce in a regimented setup. Time-bound jobs, face-to-face meetups, and desktop communication are fast giving way to remote work, video conferences, and instant messaging. Message from a top boss? Millennials might reply via emojis. Presentation scheduled for the day? They will draw it up on their mobile device while on a vacation. They expect to start a piece of work in their office desktop in the morning and complete it on their mobile device in the evening. Flexibility is the millennial worker’s middle name.

They want top tech: Millennials are a tech-savvy lot. They know their technology and use smartphones extensively. So it’s usual for them to treat technology at workplace as a natural extension of their digital life. A recent survey highlighted that working for a company with updated technology is important for 93% millennial employees. If your internal communication tools don’t boast the latest bells and whistles — AI, automation, chatbots, et al — well, it’s time to introspect.

They want fun: All work and no play makes a millennial, well, not a millennial. As per a report, “millennials want fun and a less formal atmosphere may help foster it”. A formal and boring office setup is as dangerous for them as a lack of fun and creativity in internal communication. Think gamified onboarding, fun contests, quizzes (and don’t miss razing down the cubicles and putting up some graffiti on the walls).

They want rewards: Craving for instant gratification, two out of five millennials want the recognition program at their current workplace improved. This is one of the factors that goes on to create a millennial workplace. But it’s not only the big bucks they are after. Rewards can come in softer, intangible forms — through regular (and not sporadic) recognition in front of peers and management, customized and career-building training programs, more empowerment at the workplace, and so on.

Phew, don’t the millennials want it all! But it’s wise to give them what they want — or someone else will, to their advantage. Get your workplace millennial-ready today. It will make your job easy tomorrow when the Gen Z comes knocking!

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