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5 Things Millennial Workers Want


Millennials entering the workforce display a markedly different set of preferences from their predecessors, at times confounding the companies striving to attract and retain them. Generational attitudes may be partially responsible for their characterization as disloyal or transitory, but equally culpable are the employers that fail to understand and meet Millennials’ needs.

Businesses recognize members of this generation comprise the pipeline of producers, managers and leaders responsible for growing, sustaining and positioning organizations for future success. By 2020, they will represent 40% to 50% of the working population. These five intangibles are integral to a Millennial’s decision to apply for and stay in a position.

1. Flexibility

As Millennials and employers both gravitate toward a more meritocratic, results-oriented model, productivity is replacing presenteeism as the barometer of value and predictor of success. Companies everywhere are implementing Reed Hastings’ Netflix model, which emphasizes performance and measurable outcomes.

The generation that has never known professional life without the internet expects robust connectivity infrastructure and the opportunity to work from almost anywhere, anytime. Videoconferencing and shared documents that update in real time facilitate both remote and intra-office collaboration. Working 9 to 5 has morphed into being connected 24/7 by technology and globalization.

2. Continual Learning and Professional Development

Millennials demonstrate little loyalty to companies perceived as simply using their labor rather than developing their talent. Employers that offer formal training and mentoring and the opportunity for educational and experiential pursuits outside of the workplace appeal to Millennials. While a number have attained senior positions, those precocious individuals will leave if they are unhappy with how their talents or leadership skills are being cultivated.

3. Community

Integrating new technologies is undoubtedly essential to facilitating productivity, flexibility and growth, but can deteriorate an organization’s sense of community. The very tools that make collaboration possible can be isolating, replacing human interaction with tech connections.

According to a Stanford study, 31% of frequent internet users spend an average of 70 minutes less per day with family. Employers need to combat this by committing to the continuous cultivation of human relationships, both among workers and with clients. In commercial real estate, social capital is indispensable.

4. Culture

As the work-life line blurs, Millennials increasingly seek firms with a corporate ethos that resonates with their own philosophy and offers a sense of purpose. Many are drawn to sustainable LEED-certified spaces and environmental stewards with recycling and energy-saving initiatives.

Cone Communications found 64% of Millennials evaluate companies’ social and environmental policies when deciding whether to submit a job application or look elsewhere. This generation expects a company’s philanthropic initiatives to advance causes they support.

5. Meaning

As with corporate culture, the actual work a company does is a chief concern for Millennials. Their self-actualization is inexorably bound up in their career and contribution to the world.

They are often willing to sacrifice compensation for fulfillment from organizational purpose found in urban renewal projects or providing affordable housing. Employers who cater to Millennials’ desire to feel pride in their work and define their role within an organization will be most successful in attracting talent.

Bottom Line

Companies that provide flexibility, foster growth, encourage collaboration and exhibit social responsibility are top draws for Millennial talent. Our content sponsor CBIZ has been named one of the nation’s “Best and Brightest” employers. The award recognizes organizations that help build better businesses, richer lives and stronger communities.

The CBIZ Commercial Real Estate Practice works strategically with property developers, owners, investors and managers to safeguard assets, maximize net operating margins and improve return on investment. 

Related Topics: millennials, CBIZ