What Millennials Want – Part I


What Millennials Want – Part I

My nephew Sam recently completed the management training program for a national supermarket chain. He was struck by the inappropriateness of the training for the participants – the Millennial Generation. The training program was developed for and by our generation (and if you don’t count yourself as a Millennial, assume you are in “our” generation) – for our styles, wants and needs. After presenting his completion project, he was asked to present to senior management and some of his ideas are going into motion. I asked Sam to share his insight with you, small business owners. Here’s what he had to say:

What do millennials look for when job hunting?

Millennials are the most educated generation in history, yet for a lot of us, that education came with a hefty price tag. When organizations are looking for talented millennials, they must also realize that most millennials are mired in student loans. A lot of organizations that have had success in attracting high potential talent offer a form of loan repayment based on years of service. In addition to potential for advancement and salary, millennials are also looking for organizations that share the same values that they do. Health and wellness programs are important as well as fostering a multi-cultural workplace.

What motivates millennials?

I don’t know if I can speak my whole generation, but I’ve found that I, and a lot of my peers are really motivated by the potential to impact change. We are really empowered and energized when we feel that our work is meaningful. We want to be able to link how our own individual contributions benefit the organization and ultimately society as a whole. As a generation that was profoundly influenced by the literal explosion of innovation and invention of the last twenty years, we are also seeking to leave our mark on the world. We value continuous improvement and innovation. We want to be on the cutting edge of process change and be in a position to influence future change. We want to feel like we are making a difference in an organization.

Key Take-aways for small business owners:

  • Millennials want to work for an organization in line with their personal values (which means baby-boomer business owners and executives need to define the organization’s mission and values and share them).
  • Offer benefits of interest to confident, global, transient, value-driven workers. Think more about time off for charitable work, less about disability insurance.
  • Millennials want to understand the connection between their individual work and the organization’s mission. Employees have wanted this for years; the millennials are confident enough to ask for it. Invite innovation and be willing to let them own it and act on it.

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Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.