What do we millennials want at our workplaces? You’ll be shocked to know its a lot more than just avocado toast (that doesn’t hurt though!). Millennials recieve constant flak for actually daring to want some meaning in their jobs and a purpose to follow — while being paid at least a living wage, clearly that’s preposterous. And while we are doing our job, we want the places we work at to have an organisational culture that reflects our ethos. We increasingly spend more time at work, if we’re not physically at work, it’s constant e-communication or work related travel. Even the mental health and overall well being of individuals is closely related to their work and workplaces. In such a scenario, the culture of the place one works at becomes extremely important.
What can you do to build an organisational culture that makes millennials want to stay? Ask the millennials what they want. You have young persons at your office, talk to them. Try and understand what they want the values of their organisation to reflect, see what you can accommodate and where common ground can be found. As a millennial here are some things that I look for in any organisation that I work with:
Ethics: I expect organisations to have a code of ethics that they follow and expect all employees to stand by. If you’re a not for profit that works with low income communities, this could mean the ethics of communicating with the community and its representation in any media format. If you’re a for profit consultancy it could mean ethics relating to honesty of your research work. Honesty, integrity and a pinch of idealism is all that any of us want really.
Flexibility: The future of work is flexible. If it is conference calls at 7 am from a beach in Bali, let people set their own work timetables and even centre it around base principles for some structure if need be. When you’re flexible, you’re letting people work at their peak productivity.
The space to make mistakes: When people know that they have the space to make mistakes without being penalised very heavily for every small error, they take more creative chances and are more risks — this is where all innovation lies. Give people second chances and even third and fourth chances, help them learn and grow, it will prove to be good business for you.
Care for your employees: I cannot stress this enough. Your clients always come first. Build a culture that fosters a sense of belonging amongst your team, let people in your company know that they come first. Make space to adjust for their health concerns: both physical and mental, personal emergencies and anywhere else they need support. Invest in their personal development, employees will be loyal to workplaces that are loyal to them.
Share your vision: Millennials don’t just want to do their jobs and go home, they want to understand how their work fits in with the larger picture. They mostly want to do something big and come away feeling under utilised, change that — allow for more cross collaboration, less stringent hierarchy and for ideas and drive over positions.
Create social impact: We’re in a flux and we want to find some way to give back. Find ways in which your work can create such impact or support others creating such impact — provide resources, create support networks or customise opportunities to help us align our want to create social impact with the work you’re doing or support us while we pursue it alongside.
While, these points are subjective and can be added on to by organisations and persons, the need for fruitful and responsive communication at the workplace, along with its acknowledgement is the need of the day.
Vandita Morarka is the Founder and CEO of One Future Collective.
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