We’ve recently looked at the challenges that come with employee engagement for the Millennial generation. Last week, Jonathan was delighted to discover he was in fact a Millennial, albeit, just. Today we hear from Southerly’s new intern Maria, a bonafide Millennial, with her take on the world of employment and I.C.
As a Millennial just starting out in employment, it can sometimes feel like the world is slowing down on innovation and, maybe to some degree, courage. Most of my friends who have student loans tell me that as soon as they are done with their degrees they want to hop straight into a job, so that they can pay off their debt. They can’t have the risk of a start-up failing and, as much as we all want to be Mark Zuckerberg, we know that start-up successes are rare and difficult to achieve.
With so much choice and competition between employers nowadays, though, what makes us choose one over another?
For starters, according to a Clark University poll report, nearly 60% of Millennials would much rather have jobs they love in spite of a lower wage. This definitely resonates with me but, equally, if the jobs on offer aren’t the most riveting, the perks can make up for it.
In this sense what Millennials want is an experience, not just stuff. You could throw in a car but, according to the Goldman Sachs Fortnightly Thoughts intern survey 2013, 30% of us do not intend to purchase one in the future, so you have to question whether this kind of perk is a priority for this generation. We want something more, something that will fulfil our thirst for adventure and self-improvement.
They can’t have the risk of a start-up failing, much as they all want to be Mark Zuckerberg
For example, thinkPARALLAX has introduced a new form of employee engagement and inspiration: paid travel. Employees are given $1,500 (about £980) and an extra day-off, allowing them to venture out into the world, and gain new experiences and a new wave of creativity to bring back in to the work place. Not only does it appeal to the Millennials’ love for travel, it could also encourage them to enter the working world sooner – why take a couple of gap years and work part-time in a cafe to fund your budget trip to Asia when you could get paid to roam around Asia as part of an awesome job?
So, if you are planning on attracting Millennials this year, make sure you design your jobs and perks to create an experience we cannot refuse.
Furthermore, a job must be able to demonstrate progression and how we can achieve success if you want us to hang around.
We like ‘stuff’ based around self-development or improvement. Things as simple as a free gym membership, office zumba and ‘meditation Mondays’ are ways in which you can appeal to our love for good heath and wellbeing, whilst making the most of our love for socialising and mingling.
Even though we are swimming in debt and are quite a risk-averse generation, according to the Goldman Sachs’ Our Thinking report, over 90% of us want to own a home someday. Some employers offer accommodation as one of their perks; if that’s the case then perhaps provide the opportunity to own it one day. Essentially, it’s about showing a genuine interest in improving individual lives and supporting futures – that we’re not just another cog.
In this way, it’s quite clear that Millennials want to feel special, and giving them a sense of autonomy helps achieve that. Zappos, for example, gives employees the freedom to take whichever path they like to woo customers, as well as promoting opportunities to become a senior leader in five to seven years through optional training and mentorship programmes. By giving them the chance to run their own lives and mould their own career paths, Zappos has attracted Millennials worldwide.
Promote opportunities to become a senior leader
Filter the false
But how do you capture the interest in the first place? Ours is the generation that embeds our social media into our lives – about 80% of Millennials log on to a social site every day (InSites Consulting) – but we are also the most critical and scrutinising generation. Millennials are trained, from endless researching and trawling, to filter out false claims made by untrustworthy firms. We’re attracted to an honest company image.
For example, we’re keen to protect and improve the environment; a company that claims it is environmentally friendly, but can‘t show that it practices what it preaches, or presents a thin veil of corporate social responsibility, will not win any hearts or minds. Is it any wonder that, according to Nielsen, 55% of global online consumers will pay for products by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact? Half of those respondents were, of course, Millennials.
This goes back to those fundamentals that we need: believable stories and an engaging brand image, in order to connect and form a genuine relationship. If you can achieve this with potential consumers, you can also achieve it with current employees and future prospects.
In other words, if a company claims to be the one making a difference or promotes an innovative and evolutionary mindset, we want to see that difference and every detail of that story. Failure to do so will lead to a lack of trust in the values you use to uphold your brand image, and ultimately, risks the trust of your workforce.
An emotional attraction
Recently, we discussed what an emotional relationship can bring to brand power, Apple being a particularly good example of this. For instance, Apple created the ingenious advertisement below to present its values and how it applies to the company does, and thus how it affects us. By explaining that they take the time to work out what they want us to feel before painstakingly designing products that enhance our lives, Apple is showing loyalty and devotion to us. That same emotional connection goes for engaging employees.
It’s the kind of relationship that is very much desired by hesitant, critical Millennials. By connecting to us on a highly informative yet deeply emotional level we are led to check out their website and maybe even apply for a job. We want to be part of the hard-working, life-enhancing and joy-seeking group portrayed in that ad, targeting not just the kind of people Apple want as customers, but as employees too.
As a generation, in spite of our debt crises, we want jobs we love and can be proud of. We’re after opportunities and experiences, the kind that help our personal and professional development together. So while we want to get out of education as soon as possible in order to pay off our debts, we know the most effective way to do that is to be in a job that keeps us and develops us.