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Millennial’s: Here’s what they want from a job, and how organisations should adapt…

7th January 2015

What is a millennial?

By most definitions, millennials are classed as those born between 1982 – 1996 (18-32 in age).

Like all generations, millennials have been stereotyped, although not as favourably as generations before. Lazy, entitled, and out of touch of reality – The common labels attached to the millennial generation. As always, parents are to blame – both their success (career and money) and ‘over parenting’ are said to be responsible for the easy ride most millennials are on, a ride that apparently, not many want to get off.


While this might be the case for a small minority, to paint a whole generation with the same brush is just nonsense. We’ve got many millennials at Rima, in fact it’s actually a millennial writing this post, can you tell?


Although we don’t agree with the negative stereotypes of millennials, we do agree that they are very different to previous generations, and it is this difference that will have a profound effect on the future. And nowhere is this truer, than in the workplace…



Millennial's are defining the workplace, but how?

There are arguably two key drivers of change:


1. Millennial’s are digital natives. Meaning they were either born into a digital world or can’t remember their life without digital. As a result they are now expecting a consumer-like digital experience in the workplace.


2. A notable trend amongst millennials is that many still live with their parents. This is a contributing factor that has helped give them the flexibility to be pickier when choosing a role and worry less about staying in a role they are not enjoying. As such they are slower to make a connection to their employer and so loyalty is hard won. Millennials will leave an organisation far quicker than those from older generations would.

To a certain extent, millennials are helping shift the power in the workplace from the employer to the employee.




What do Millennials want from their job?

– They want to undertake meaningful work, work that make’s an impact and plays a clear part in the company’s success.


– A collaborative culture. Millennial’s like to work with others on projects, as they recognize that it is the best way to achieve innovation. Technologies have greatly improved their ability to work collaboratively.


– Transparency. They want everyone to know what is going on in the organisation, and they don’t want any barriers to be in place between different level workers.


– They want a job that allows them to help and improve society. In a recent study from MLS group, a key finding was that:


“Although trust in business is still low, Millennials see business as the only solution for a better future. They’ve given up on government. They see big companies as our only hope.”


– The study also revealed that, 78% of Millennials recommend a company to their peers based on the company’s involvement with society.


– Progression is key. They want to move through the ranks at an organisation, and they want to achieve this at a much faster rate than previous generations.


– In conjunction with the above point, millennials place learning and development high on their list of wants in a job.


– Mobility. They do not want to be tied to one location. Having the opportunity to work from home is a given for millennials.


– Millennials want to maintain a healthy work/life balance.


– Millennials like to learn at their own pace and when is suitable to them. Also, video has become their preferred learning medium.



How should organisations adapt to millennials?

– Give millennials the digital tools and technologies that they demand. This is a must; they need to be given access to the best tools for collaboration and execution. Technology will give them greater flexibility and efficiency, which, organisations can reap the benefits from.


– Create an open, flexible and collaborative work culture. And one where millennials aren’t restricted by location – remember, millennials like mobility. Social networks are a key tool to use for achieving this.


– Provide them with the opportunity ‘to do good’ by allowing them – through the business – to help society. However the choice of what and how they will help society should be left up to the employee to decide.


– Gamify work: Apply game mechanics to motivate positive behavioural change. You can read more about using gamification in the workplace by accessing a useful guide we put together, here. Everyone, especially millennials, enjoys playing games. And it is an excellent method, when used correctly, which brings out competitive and cooperative motivations in a way that doesn’t feel like work.


– Make training materials bite-size, entertaining, and mobile, whereby employees can access the training from wherever and whenever they like at their own self directed pace.


– Continually listen and adapt to what millennials are saying. This approach should replace the annual employee performance review.





Millennials could become the making or breaking of your organization, that’s why it is crucial to be effectively engaging with this generation to attract, maintain and retain them. The battle has begun…


If you would like any guidance on engagement strategies for millennials, then please get in touch.


Until next time…




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