What Makes Millennials Happy At Work?
I am a “millennial”, a term given to people born between 1980-2000, who are currently between 17 to 37 years old. Over the last few years, we millennials have earned slack from the generations before us for not having a proper work-culture, from not taking our jobs seriously, being extremely fickle-minded and changing jobs in a short-span of time, to not following our parents footsteps on factors like company loyalty, job choice, and roles. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2025, 75% of the workforce will consist of millennials. And if in 8 years we are going to be running the workforce, it’s time we explored what actually makes us happy at work. It will help people understand how we are different from past generations, and how we can use that difference as a competitive advantage.
We like having ownership over our work and our projects. Our parents and generations before us have been brought up in a work-culture where they didn’t question their lack of freedom over the assignments that were handed to them. But, our generation hates being micromanaged. When our superiors interrupt us several times during our assignment, we feel as if we aren’t trusted enough with the project or are considered incompetent. It immediately creates an invisible wall between the job and us. What we prefer is to be told in clear terms what is expected of us in the assignment/role, and then allowed to work on it according to our sensibilities. We appreciate guidelines, deadlines, and welcome feedback. We can only truly feel happy at our workplace if we feel as if we have full ownership over our project, and that we actually have an important role to play in creating our projects.
The fourth industrial revolution was technology, which started in the early 1980s and is still ongoing. The greatest technological advancements have been made in these years, and it’s really no surprise that millennials are real sticklers for technology. From home computers to the first iPod, our generation has been in the midst of every big turn in the technology world. Technology has been a huge part of our growth, and in several ways makes our lives much easier and optimizes our performance. Having the latest technology in the workplace would make everything smoother, simpler, and faster, making us exponentially happier and more productive.
Social impact is increasingly becoming a huge deal for us. Volunteering to help better the community and supporting non-profit organizations has also become a part of the college curriculum since 2012. When millennials are looking for jobs, a majority of them say they would prefer to work for a company that actively engages in social work. Knowing that our company actually has a positive social impact makes us feel better about working there.
Another thing that makes us millennials extremely happy at work is knowing that we have a strong team that we can rely on. We appreciate having regular team building activities and workshops. Having workshops every 6-7 months not only helps in building team spirit, but also allows employees a day to interact with each other outside of the office set-up. There are several aspects of team-building: communication, decision-making, planning, and trust. Some fun activities to build these aspects are: Two Truths and a Lie (communication), Picture-pieces game, and the Marshmallow challenge (decision-making). You can also create your own games for team building, like coming up with a fake problem and letting a team work around it.
Socialization is an important deal for our generation. Staying cooped up in our cubicles all day without any interaction with our co-workers isn’t good for building a strong team. We need to have some time to be able to walk around or hang out with our co-workers to get to know them more on a personal level. This would help us understand them better, which in turn will improve our team-work.
Intrapreneurships are internal entrepreneurship programs where employees are encouraged to generate and share new ideas and are given authority and support to implement those ideas. We are absolutely thrilled about intrapreneurships, because they allow us to come up with our own projects and take full ownership of them.
Job-satisfaction comes from the knowledge that we are doing what we love. The prospect of rising up and working our way up the ladder as a reward of competency and commitment is what makes millennials happy. We are most likely to disengage if we feel as if we are stuck in a dead-end job. Millennials are accused of changing jobs too often, but that’s because we are ambitious to get ahead and anxious about doing it fast. We are unlikely to stick around in a job environment that doesn’t leave us with enough space to grow.
Not having a proper balance in life is the most frustrating feeling for us. Several surveys and social experiments show that the one thing our generation absolutely dreads is monotony. If we think we are stuck in an ever spinning cycle of work all day and work at home at night, we start feeling unhappy and cramped. It’s very important for us to have a balance by spending time with family and friends, traveling, or developing a hobby. Having the proper balance between work and fun is crucial for us, and happiness lies in knowing that we have struck that balance.