We recently had an opportunity to work with one of our clients in the nonprofit sector, to conduct a focus group to further understand what attracts and motivates millennials to stay engaged in their organizations.

Millennials are on track to comprise 50 percent of the workforce worldwide by 2020, according to this article published by NAVEX Global in early 2017.  While there are many stereotypes associated with this generation, what we found is that not all were valid in our focus groups.Our groups included employees in professional and non-professional jobs.  Feedback from both groups was consistent.  They all had a strong desire for these three things:

  • Provide Value – they want an opportunity to make a difference, and to have a significant impact.   They have a strong desire to collaborate with peers, on meaningful work that will help transform their organizations and others in society.
  • Work Hard / Feel Appreciated – while many of the stereotypes indicate that this generation of workers are not hardworking, or may feel a sense of entitlement, we saw a different perspective.  This group of employees are very dedicated, and willing to go above and beyond and put in the extra time to get the job done.  Additionally, there is a strong sense of passion for leveraging technology to work smarter.  In return for their hard work, flexibility with their hours, and how and where they perform the work, would go a long way with engagement and satisfaction.
  • Strong Leadership – it is important for them to have leaders who lead by example, mentor, and give feedback (positive or negative) so that they always know where they stand.  Do they need a trophy?  No.  But, as we mentioned before – it’s important to them to make an impact and add value, and they can’t do that if they don’t know where they stand.

What are you doing to embrace the transition in the way that you recruit, engage and retain the various generations in your workforce?