Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Millennials share what they really want from a workplace

If you’re just tuning in, it’s best to start at the beginning; check out my earlier post about what keeps millennials engaged at work.

Why millennials? Because it’s apparent that no one is quite sure how to manage us. Well some are, and we stay loyal to you – but to the ones who aren’t quite sure, this blog is for you. Learn from it and implement change so you can keep us (we’re great!) – by 2020, we’ll make up 50% of the global workforce (PWC).

I asked around the hallways at Ceridian and got my colleagues to share their thoughts:

Help us to be better, faster, stronger

“Foster an environment where I want to become better, faster, stronger every day. I love when my skills are recognized, my abilities are respected, and my creativity is encouraged.” – Muzi Li, QA/Test Analyst, Ottawa, Canada

We do our best work when we’re passionate about the impact of our work and surrounded by folks who are too

“I don’t consider my job work (even though that’s what I am actually doing), I would call it doing something I love and getting paid is a bonus. I’m a firm believer in ‘one hand washes the other.’ I strive to do my best and meet deadlines and I expect the same from my colleagues and leaders. I dislike when my work ethic is lumped into one category, ‘millennials,’ I’m a PERSON who depends on the mutual work ethic of those around me – millennials, boomers, etc. – to get the job done. Surround me with people who are passionate, responsible and team players and I’ll succeed and help grow your business.” Colby Merchlewitz, Oracle Application Database Administrator, Minneapolis MN

Related: How to manage a multi-generational workforce

Help us see a clear career path

“Millennials like change and expect frequent advancement, so it’s important to show that there’s always opportunities to move forward on a career path. To a lot of millennials, there’s no difference between a lateral move at the same company vs. a lateral move to a new company, so providing a career path with lots of stepping stones forward is key.” – Andrew Shopsowitz, Manager, Product Strategy, Toronto, Canada

Create a culture of fun and collaboration

Approachable, collaborative and fun teammates are crucial. The culture must promote fun for people to get on board, so social events where the laptops are closed are key. Create an environment where we want to see each other after work and outside the office. I love the chance to work cross-departmentally with folks I wouldn’t normally interact with in the day-to-day. Invest in my growth, whether it be a stretch assignment or as part of an event committee. The chance to branch out and work with others is awesome. –  Mitchell Reed, Accounts Receivable Analyst, Minneapolis MN

Mentor us, we want to learn from all levels and skillsets

“Hire all ages and people from different walks of life. I learn from boomers, millennials, etc. everyday! Mentor me. I’m super responsive to being coached and really appreciate feedback!” – Kimberly Griffith, XOXO Customer Success Administrator, St.Petersburg FL

“Help me grow! I want to grow with the company and I am eager to learn. Use my willingness to learn and I promise I will always be a highly engaged employee who you can count on.” – Hailey McGrath, Payroll & HR Consultant, Mississauga, Canada

Appreciate us, not just with money

“It’s the little things that make me feel appreciated – the thank you note after a conference, a thoughtful small gift, a surprise team outing. My boss always does little things to make us feel appreciated and it works. I love being part of this team, and it only makes me want to work harder and do a great job at every event.” – Stacy Walman, Marketing Specialist, Corporate Events, Toronto, Canada

No matter the hierarchy, treat us as trusted teammates

“I want to work for a forward-thinking company that views me as a team member instead of an employee. I look for a boss who is also a mentor. Someone who guides me, encourages me and inspires me to constantly improve.” – Heidi Tooth, Corporate Sales Consultant, Edmonton, Canada

Be flexible so we can accomplish it all

“Juggling an ambitious career, health/fitness and a social life is a challenge for most millennials, not just me. The fact that my manager extends the flexibility of working from home when I need to, is really motivating. Give millennials autonomy like this and they’ll remain loyal to you.” – Divya Kamalakannan, Implementation Consultant, Ottawa

This last heading speaks truth for me too. In addition to stretch assignments, professional development programs and perks like work travel, an utter respect for work-life balance is ingrained in everything we do at Ceridian.

Many millennials are delaying having kids but that doesn’t mean we don’t value our time away from work. I value a manager who respects my decision to not respond to emails after 6pm (not always possible, but I do try). Leaders I can have fun with are also a huge plus. There’s nothing quite like heading to the pool with Ceridian’s top executives right after a huge success (and lots of work) at a conference. You’ll see me there with my colleagues after this year’s Ceridian INSIGHTS conference, one of my favorite times of the year in Las Vegas!

As I mentioned in Part 1, the fact that we’re pushing our leaders to meet our needs isn’t a differentiator for our group. However, unlike during the Industrial Revolution, we have a smorgasbord of ways to communicate our dislikes and grievances, and while they may do the trick, they aren’t necessarily the most collaborative. However, we share when we’re stoked about work too, just check out #lovemyjob on Twitter!

I write this from home, laptop at my fingertips, foot elevated because it’s doctor’s orders, and my sister’s new puppy beside me. I really do #lovemyjob and I have to say, Ceridian’s kept this driven millennial quite happy especially since my foot surgery. I might have needed more time off work, but with the option to work from home I was able to return much quicker, and was eager to. If you’ve ever been home on bedrest, I’m sure you can relate!

I can’t stress enough – employers who succeed will be the ones who strive to meet the needs of this huge subset of the workforce, not only because we’re in a digital age with social media at our finger tips, but because, #lovemyjob tweets aside, it’s good for business.

Like what you hear about Ceridian in this post? Join us!

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