SLOW Magazine - - Editor's Choice -

here are many suc­cess­ful busi­ness­peo­ple that will tell you that the se­cret to stay­ing ahead in to­day’s fast-paced

is by pay­ing close at­ten­tion to what is shap­ing the mar­ket and adapt­ing ac­cord­ingly.

A Forbes study re­vealed that Mil­len­ni­als will make up al­most 75% of the work­force glob­ally in the next few years, and chang­ing to fit the needs and life­style of this gen­er­a­tion is key for busi­nesses who want to stay rel­e­vant in an ever-chang­ing mar­ket.

So, who ex­actly are Mil­len­ni­als? They are the gen­er­a­tion born any­where be­tween the early 1980s and 2000. More lib­eral in their po­lit­i­cal and so­cial ide­ol­ogy, less likely to sub­scribe to any one par­tic­u­lar re­li­gion, ex­cep­tion­ally well-versed in tech­nol­ogy, highly ed­u­cated, and driven to make a dif­fer­ence, they are fast be­com­ing the great­est con­trib­u­tors to the mar­ket­place – and there is hot tal­ent among them. With that in mind, more and more busi­nesses – es­pe­cially those ac­knowl­edg­ing the im­mi­nent need to fill lead­er­ship gaps – are adapt­ing poli­cies and mak­ing changes to ap­peal to Mil­len­ni­als.

In or­der to adapt your busi­ness ac­cord­ingly, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand ex­actly what Mil­len­ni­als want and how they are shap­ing to­day’s busi­ness world.

One of the most ob­vi­ous points is that they are un­de­ni­ably mak­ing so­cial me­dia big­ger than ever. The first gen­er­a­tion to ever rely on so­cial me­dia, th­ese young adults are rarely seen with­out their smart­phones in their hands – and this is not just for so­cial pur­poses. So­cial me­dia is one of the big­gest and most ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing tools, as well as in­flu­en­tial pro­mo­tion av­enues for vir­tu­ally any prod­uct or ser­vice. The proof is in the num­bers: Twit­ter alone has on av­er­age 330 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users, In­sta­gram has al­most 800 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users, and over 1 bil­lion of the world’s pop­u­la­tion are ac­tive on Face­book. It is safe to say that so­cial me­dia isn’t go­ing any­where any­time soon – which means that the gen­er­a­tion to fol­low the Mil­len­ni­als, Gen­er­a­tion Z, will be even more de­pen­dent on it.

An­other ma­jor shift Mil­len­ni­als are driv­ing that is vastly dif­fer­ent from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion is the de­mand for flex­i­bil­ity in the work­place. A ma­jor change from the for­mer nine-to-five work model that most big cor­po­rate com­pa­nies have ad­hered to for decades, is the de­sire for the abil­ity to work from home and tele­con­fer­enc­ing. The ma­jor­ity of Mil­len­ni­als now want what is re­ferred to as “work-life in­te­gra­tion”, which is very dif­fer­ent from a work-life bal­ance and, in­stead, blends work and life in­ex­tri­ca­bly. The free­dom to take Wed­nes­day off for other com­mit­ments and do Wed­nes­day’s work on Sun­day is some­thing that ap­peals strongly to the Mil­len­nial mind­set. Cre­at­ing their own sched­ule does not mean they don’t work hard. In fact, al­low­ing flex­i­bil­ity in the work­place for this mo­ti­vated gen­er­a­tion en­cour­ages an above av­er­age or ex­cep­tional work ethic, as well as al­low­ing them to bal­ance their grow­ing fam­i­lies with their grow­ing ca­reers. With this free­dom of flex­i­bil­ity in mind, it is not sur­pris­ing that a Forbes In­tel­li­gent Group study re­vealed that 72% of Mil­len­ni­als would like to be their own boss, but if they do work for a boss, 79% would want that boss to serve more as a men­tor or coach. This cre­ates what they feel to be a more col­lab­o­ra­tive work cul­ture, which is highly ap­peal­ing to this gen­er­a­tion.

This same study by Forbes re­vealed what could be con­sid­ered as per­haps the most in­ter­est­ing change brought about by the Mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion: 64% said that it is a pri­or­ity for them to make the world a bet­ter place. This is per­fectly in line with the next point: Most Mil­len­ni­als are look­ing for more than just a pay­cheque from their jobs. In­stead, a sense of pur­pose from the work they do is of equal im­por­tance to be­ing well re­mu­ner­ated. Hav­ing a sound, mean­ing­ful pur­pose and work­ing for a com­pany that is in­ter­ested in ad­vanc­ing the well­be­ing of so­ci­ety in in­no­va­tive and ex­cit­ing ways is of ut­most im­por­tance to Mil­len­ni­als. As a re­sult, more and more busi­nesses are en­cour­aged and chal­lenged to strengthen their com­pany cul­ture, and en­sure that em­ploy­ees are pas­sion­ately con­nected by a com­mon pur­pose. It is not sur­pris­ing, there­fore, that a great por­tion of this gen­er­a­tion (ac­cord­ing to Busi­ness In­sider) view tech giants Google, Ap­ple, and Face­book as ideal em­ploy­ers. The idea that Mil­len­ni­als are merely in­ter­ested in flock­ing to the big­gest firms is a mis­con­cep­tion. In­stead, what draws them it is the idea that th­ese com­pa­nies got to where they are by pro­vid­ing a more en­tic­ing work en­vi­ron­ment, and pro­vide a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship for all.

An­other im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is that Mil­len­ni­als are re­mould­ing the land­scape for con­sumers, and are some of the big­gest spenders in the mar­ket to­day – and adapt­ing busi­nesses ac­cord­ing to th­ese con­sumerist needs is im­por­tant. One ma­jor fac­tor to con­sider in an in­creas­ingly tech-savvy world is on­line rat­ings and re­views. The vast ma­jor­ity of Mil­len­ni­als will tell you that they con­sider, rely on, and trust on­line re­views in a big way. This de­pen­dency on what is be­ing said about com­pa­nies on the In­ter­net means that busi­nesses need to start put­ting more fo­cus on cu­rat­ing a pos­i­tive on­line pres­ence with pos­i­tive re­views and com­ments from con­sumers in or­der to ap­peal to Mil­len­ni­als.

While you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Mil­len­nial who isn’t in­ter­ested in a craft beer tast­ing team­build­ing and wear­ing flip-flops to work – many Mil­len­nial stereo­types do ex­ist for a very good rea­son – th­ese are not perks that most con­sider when choos­ing a com­pany to com­mit to. Per­form­ing mind­ful and mean­ing­ful work, a col­lab­o­ra­tive work en­vi­ron­ment, tech­savvy di­rec­tion, and flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing are far more im­por­tant. For com­pa­nies that are will­ing to adapt to the needs of this am­bi­tious gen­er­a­tion, Mil­len­ni­als have the po­ten­tial to bring qual­ity tech­no­log­i­cal skills, a healthy ques­tion­ing of the sta­tus quo, en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit, and a drive to make a dif­fer­ence, as well as first-hand mar­ket knowl­edge to con­trib­ute to any thriv­ing busi­ness.

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