In Defense of Millennials (And 3 Ways Your Business Can Attract More of Them)

I’m pleased to report that it seems as though peak Millennial-bashing is finally behind us.

(This is the part where I disclose that I’m a Millennial. To be clear, I consider myself more of the grizzled veteran variety being in my mid-30s, but technically a Millennial nonetheless.)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for mocking generational idiosyncrasies. I mean, who doesn’t love a good Millennial meme? ↓↓↓

But after years of hand-wringing articles and righteous talking heads portraying Millennials as nothing more than brunch-loving narcissists, pie-in-the-sky idealists, and destroyers of everything fun and good, it’s nice to see the tide slowly turning to more nuanced discussions about today’s 20- and 30-somethings.

This could be because, as Millennials age, it’s only natural that we redirect our often inflated concern and/or collective displeasure toward a newer aggregate of youths (i.e., “Generation Z”). However, the broader acceptance of Millennial ideals may have more to do with their evolving role in the workplace.  

A Changing Workforce

Millennials are no longer some up-and-coming generation being held back by the old guard. Case in point: We recently became the largest population of American workersand are forecasted to make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025.

This might make companies struggling to attract and retain skilled young workers quite nervous. But here’s the dirty little secret: Despite all of the pejorative commentary, Millennials want essentially the same thing out of a career as their older peers (more on this later). The key difference is, Millennials simply have less patience for rigid, outdated workplace environments that are unable or unwilling to meet their expectations.

The proliferation of technology and younger people entering the workforce has left many of today’s businesses with no choice but to embrace the values, skills and ideas that Millennials bring to the table. So, what do Millennials expect out of a job?

Inside the Millennial Mindset

The good news is, many of the digital transformation strategies being pursued by today’s businesses fall directly in line with Millennial expectations. For example, process automation solutions that utilize technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are ideal for facilitating the kind of motivating, value-added work Millennials crave.

Want to attract and retain more Millennial workers? You can’t go wrong emphasizing these three things:

  1. Purpose. Millennials enjoy office frills such as ping-pong tables and nap pods as much as anyone. But, arguably, their biggest motivation is purpose. Doing meaningful work (e.g., cross-selling, upselling improving customer relationships, etc.) holds much more value to the average Millennial than mundane tasks like paper pushing or manual data entry.
  2. Career Development. According to a recent study, 86% percent of Millennials would stay in their current position if career development and training were offered. In other words, most Millennials aren’t compulsive job-hoppers — they’re just looking for an employer that can offer the resources to elevate their strengths and promote long-term growth.
  3. Fewer Obstacles. Most Millennials grew up with technology playing a transformational role in their lives. We’re drawn to tools that help make our jobs smarter, faster and easier. Jobs that involve wasting time searching for documents, navigating antiquated business applications and drawn-out onboarding processes have “stay away” written all over them.

If you’re serious about attracting and maintaining the kind of talent necessary to stay competitive, AI-driven automation solutions have a proven track record. To learn more about their impact on Millennials and effective strategies for future-proofing your business, check out our newest eBook: Hiring Millennials in a Digital World.

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