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.