Millennial (also known as the Millennial Generation, Generation Y or Gen Y): The democratic cohort following Gen X, born from 1980 to 2000.

If you don’t already recognise a Gen Y candidate then you better get up to date, and quickly! By 2020 the Millennials will represent nearly half of our employment market. Not since the Baby Boomers have we seen a larger generational representation. Not ever have we seen a generation looking for work-life integration.

For Millennials the norm is flexible working arrangements, contract based assignments and global outsourcing. They will not be restricted by borders. Their employment tenure is, on average, two years. Two years!! Have you just tripled your funds allocation for recruitment? Or did you ask yourself how you can engage and retain these Gen Y’s for the longer term?

It is in every organisations interest to know how to attract and retain Millennials. Intelligence Groups studies found:

  • It is a priority for 64% of Millennials to make the world a better place;
  • 72% would like to be their own boss;
  • Of those that work for someone else, 79% want their boss to serve as their coach or mentor;
  • 88% prefer a collaborative work culture; and
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.

The Gen X ‘s are probably rolling their eyes and muttering “wishful thinking squirts, you need to get some runs on the board first!”. Yet with the pending domination of Millennials across the employee landscape, should we be criticising the workplace boundaries they are pushing? Our Millennials are digitally savvy, have a strong entrepreneurial mindset, and want to make a difference. A strategy that focuses on how to harness that motivation and passion is far more beneficial for the long term future of a business than a head in the sand attitude that ignores this employee evolution.

Characterised as venture consumers, Gen Y’s see their workplace opportunities spanning a global scale. Yet while they are more receptive to moving around and travelling, few employers offer global employment opportunities. So what to do? Perhaps a global mobility opportunity with an overseas sister company is in order. A sabbatical program enables the Millennial to feed their need to explore and travel, maybe even study overseas, while being able to resume their career upon their return. If you do have an overseas office that you regularly liaise with, such programs could help to break down barriers between the offices while delivering valuable new skills. If you do not offer these types of opportunities, can you expect the duration of a Millennial’s employment with your company to be short lived? Probably. Too bad if they’re a very talented recruit!

Engaging this ambitious group of society will not be easy. They seek to be challenged. In fact one of the primary reasons they move on so quickly from a job role is because they do not believe they are receiving any personal growth or benefit. And money is not a key driver for them. They do want to climb the corporate ladder, but need to foresee advancement opportunities within their workplace. Fast moving is part of their reputation. If you can connect with your Gen Y employee and have them feel that you are invested in their personal development, they are likely to form a stronger relationship with their company and those within it.

The job market for our younger generation is truly global so they need to know that they have the opportunity to be set free to feed their desire to travel, to learn and to grow. If you grant your employees this possibility, who knows what innovative concepts they will return with. And perhaps the very act to send them abroad will in turn grow your company into a global franchise. What a revolutionary vision that is!

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