There are now five generations of people in the workforce, a higher number than we have ever seen before. The good news is that it means that workers can learn from a more diverse group of people and more new ideas can be generated from their experiences. However, this also means that it is important for businesses to better understand what workers from different generations are looking for in the workplace. Here we talk about the millennial generation.

Millennials in the Workplace

The team here at Wonolo is honored to have been selected as one of Fortune’s best workplaces for millennials in 2021. Millennials can have unique desires when it comes to their careers, so it’s important to understand what those may be and figure out how and when to cater to them. 

Millennials are generally defined as individuals who were born between 1981 and 1996. That means that in 2021, millennials are going to be between 25 to 40 years old, spanning several age groups at different life stages and with different preferences. We can give you some insights on what is important to them based on our experience, but to really understand your workers, it always pays to ask them directly, as each individual is unique. That way, you’ll be able to have a macro and a micro perspective, which is crucial to fully understand how to make your workplace work for everyone.

Some of the systems that Wonolo has in place at work resonate with millennials (and other generations as well!). Those include remote-first work, flexible schedules, great benefits and compensation, and a strong, mission-driven culture. So without further ado, here are four big things that millennials tend to seek from their work — plus one thing that isn’t as important for them to have at the workplace. 

One: Purpose and Passion for Their Work

A sense of purpose and passion for work consistently ranks at the top of the list of millennial priorities. When a company has a strong mission, it is easier for workers to get a feeling for how that lines up with their own values. If your company has a mission that people can get behind and feel passionate about, then it is likely it will appeal more to millennial workers who are looking for that connection. 

Two: Growth and Learning Opportunities 

Continuous learning and growth have become very popular in the past decade, particularly amongst millennial workers. We have learned more about the benefits of a “growth mindset,” and as a result, people are embracing the idea that it is important to be curious and open to personal growth. 

A great way for your company to foster learning is to offer ongoing training for workers of all levels and types. This kind of commitment to training is an action that shows that your company values growth. 

Three: Ongoing Feedback and Recognition

Millennials are generally open to feedback, which often goes hand in hand with timely recognition. Close, genuine relationships with managers are a great foundation for this kind of feedback and recognition. When managers understand their workers’ performance, strengths, and weaknesses, they are better able to give constructive feedback. Plus, they can be right there when a worker does something praise-worthy to give them the positive feedback that the workers desire. This genuine relationship can also help build a two-way feedback system that allows both worker and manager to improve and grow their skills (something we already know is important to millennial workers). 

Four: Work/Life Balance and Flexibility 

A strong work/life balance has been increasingly desirable, particularly in the last few years, for many generations of workers. If the pandemic has shown us anything in the working world, it is that high levels of flexibility are possible in many sectors. Younger workers have been quick to embrace new approaches like working from home or hybrid schedules. 

Many millennials, in particular, are in a life stage right now where they are getting married and starting families, and therefore they may be looking for higher levels of flexibility than other generations. They have seen that it is possible to get that balance and flexibility, by and large, so they are more likely to seek it out and create a work schedule that works for them. 

One Thing Millennials Tend To Care Less About Surface-level Perks

There has been a lot of talk in the past about surface-level perks that have been used to attract workers, like snacks, ping pong tables, social events, and more. While none of these will necessarily hurt your workplace, there isn’t strong evidence that it is at the top of most millennials’ priority list either. So if you’re thinking about where to put your company’s budget, it may be worth considering having a robust training program as opposed to buying a ping pong table. However, the bottom line is that it’s important to take the time to evaluate your company, and implement changes if needed, so you can become one of the best companies in 2021 and beyond.