What Millennials want to know and how facility managers can tell them.

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on April 21, 2015

Whether your title is Facilities Planning Analyst, Real Estate Strategic Manager, or Workspace Planner, your job as a Workspace Cowboy remains the same – to develop an organizational culture that represents the company brand and to ensure you are doing right by both your customers (the workforce) and the company’s clients. This means offering a workspace that accommodates a diverse range of work styles and investing in the right tools for those various personalities.

As an estimated 28 million Millennials enter the workforce this year alone, providing the right balance has proven more challenging than ever. While past generations are still very active within our workforce, more iStock_000044264484_Fulland more Millennials are embarking out into the professional world each year, making it business critical that we understand the attitudes, habits, preferences, and goals of our youth. So, what is it exactly, that the Millennials are looking for in a career? The answer may surprise you.

Making a Difference

Historically, professional success was defined by the size of your paycheck, the right investments for retirement, and how many toys you owned. Remember that old bumper sticker “He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins”? The country spent years recovering from The Great Depression, so people hung onto everything they owned and collected as much as they could. But the Depression is in our rearview mirror now, and the definition of success has changed.

While money is still important, Millennials are concerned with other things. They want to live a life of happiness, both personally and professionally. This means maintaining a healthy work-life balance and being a part of something bigger than themselves. A place where their talents are not only recognized, but needed, and where the workplace culture encourages diversity, flexibility, and growth.

“Millennials need direction and meaning, an interesting mixture of altruism and self-interest.” – Karl Moore, Forbes

This generation is more cause-oriented than their predecessors. They want to make a difference in the world, both on a professional level and a personal one, and want to know their employers are as well. Millennials are committed to the cause and will continue to leap from job to job, until they align themselves with a like-minded organization. After nearly a decade of budget cuts and lay-offs, this means facilities teams must work twice as hard to prove to our youth their talents are valued and that we are committed to them.

According to the NSHSS’ 2013 Millennial Career Survey, “nearly 70% of respondents said one of the most important factors in choosing an employer was whether the company encourages work-life balance. About half of respondents ranked workplace diversity as being important to their decision.” – Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily Assistant Editor

Here’s what your FM team can do to attract the right talent and prove your company’s commitment to the cause:

  • Ask the right questions. As the facility manager, you need to work to develop a workplace culture that not only represents the company brand, but your workforce as well. Understand the organization and get to know your customers – identify what works.
  • Strike a balance between what happens and works “organically” vs what must be customized to meet the needs of the company and its employees.
  • Offer diversity within the workplace. The office design, work station set-up, office mobility, workspace tools – these are all critical facets to creating a culture that the Millennials can get behind.
  • Offer multiple benefits packages. Today, a strong benefits package can set your company apart from the others, more so that the salary. Do your research and offer several packages that appeal to the various age groups. Just like anything else, trends change, so be sure to update these packages regularly. Business News Daily’s article 8 Amazing Job Benefits That Keep Employees Happy offers some creative benefits options for the modern-day employee.
  • Provide regular, productive feedback. Make sure that your company develops a solid review process, built on peer affirmation and feedback. When searching for the most talented candidates to hire, highlight this review process, as it will both attract the right employees for the job and help retain them.
  • Encourage your workforce to participate in volunteer programs. To be a positive force in our community, we must give back. This not only enriches the lives of those in our community, it enriches our own as well. And since Millennials are looking to align themselves with those who value giving back, this is a perfect way to support them in their journey.

Organizations who wish to prosper long-term must take the time to appreciate and understand this new generation of workers. Our focus should be on meaningful work, where we have a purpose and where our contributions evoke feelings of satisfaction; feelings of a higher purpose. As Workspace Cowboys of the Millennial generation, it is critical that we embrace change and adapt to the ever-changing needs of those around us. This will serve us for generations to come, as they will one day be our leaders.


Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.

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