Gen Y’s demands from the future workplace

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If businesses are looking to hold onto their Gen Y employees then innovation is key. With 70% of Millennials stating they’ll reject traditional business structures for more flexible and autonomous workplaces employers according to Deloitte’s third annual Millennial survey, it’s time to start thinking outside of the box.

The survey showed that 78% Millennials are influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there, but most say their current employer does not greatly encourage them to think creatively.

They indicated the biggest barriers to innovation are management attitude (63%), operational structures and procedures (61%), and employee skills, attitudes and (lack of) diversity (39%).

Embracing innovation won’t only entice Gen Y but it will also benefit organisations according to Deloitte New Zealand consulting partner Hamish Wilson.
“Developing a culture of innovation in an effort to meet the increasing expectations of Millennials will not only help retain talented individuals, but will also better position businesses looking to promote innovative thinking as a form of differentiation,” Wilson said.

“It is clear that businesses will continue to look to innovation as a means of stimulating growth, and Millennials will be key players within these initiatives.”

The survey of close to 7,800 Millennials from 26 markets also found that Gen Y want an employer who will develop their skills. The results also showed the generational group didn’t think businesses were doing enough to develop their leadership skills. One in four said they were ‘asking for a chance’ to show their leadership skills and 75% believe their organisations could do more to develop future leaders.

Gen Y is also eager to make a difference and believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance, but also in how they are improving society.

“As Millennials will make up an estimated 75% of the global workforce by 2025, business must work to foster innovative thinking, nurture emerging leaders, and endeavour to have an increased positive impact on society other than simply generating jobs,” Wilson said.

“These steps will attract and retain individuals who may otherwise choose to operate independently, and allow agile businesses to capitalise on new innovative perspectives.”

Key HR takeaways
Here are some key tips on how to satisfy Gen Y’s expectations:
  • Provide training. Gen Y are looking to improve themselves. Provide them with opportunities to further their skill set and develop professionally.
     
  • Understand their priorities. Gen Y seek greater work/life balance. While some may feature entrepreneurial desires and a drive to progress, the majority want to be able to enjoy life outside of work. Providing flexibility is important.
     
  • Acknowledge and reward. While it would be unrealistic to be giving cash rewards for every accomplishment, Gen Y are driven by a feeling of contribution. Simply acknowledging their contribution verbally or written will help drive productivity. This can be applied to other generations as well.
     
  • Create meaning. Gen Y are not interested in working simply for the benefit of a shareholder. It is important to demonstrate to Gen Y the impact their work is having on the community more broadly.
Related articles:
Misunderstood Millennials: Are Gen Y really that bad?
Managers and Gen Y: The mindsets that keep them apart
Coping with Generation Y workers

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