What millennials are looking for in a job (and why you should care)

Millennials. What do you think of when you hear that word? Is it negative? That’s understandable. We are different than past generations. But the stigma behind millennials only accounts for a small percentage of us.

Because of this stigma, there’s an unfair bias when applying to jobs. I worked extremely hard to graduate with a high GPA and no student debt. I am not lazy, and neither are 80 percent of the other millennials I know.

Yes, there are some entitled people in our generation, but you can find that in every generation. The entitled ones tend to be most opinionated, so that’s why you hear about them more often. Grouping all of us into one stereotype will make you lose out on some great employees.

That being said, there are some major differences in millennials than past generations. I’ve noticed that most Baby Boomer generations and older want you to land an 8-5 job and work your entire life away, even if you’re unhappy. Because money is important, and how can you be happy without money?

I’ve noticed a complete 180 difference in millennials. We’d rather find jobs that we love so that we don’t dread waking up and going to work every day. We really only need enough money to cover bills and have some cushion in our savings accounts. Happiness trumps money. And if we eventually make a decent salary? That’s just the icing on the cake.

I’ve spent time at an 8-5 that I hated. I know how it feels to wake up and immediately want to skip the day, and I’m not going to sentence myself to a life of that.

So what exactly is a millennial like myself looking for in a job?

An open and helpful work environment

While everyone eventually takes a job that they hate because they have bills to pay, it does not mean that every job should be like that.

If you create a positive environment for your employees, they’re more likely to enjoy their job. Even if what they’re doing is not their passion, the way you structure your business could make all the difference.

I’m not sure if it’s because of our shortened attention spans (thanks, technology) or if it’s always been this way, but I can’t be productive for the entire time I’m at work. I need breaks, physically and mentally. Sitting at a desk and staring at a screen will do things to you.

Consider broadening your horizons and making your office more progressive. I’ve heard of offices that have meditation breaks once a day and have half-days once a month to volunteer together. While this takes time out of the workday, it’s actually been proven to increase productivity. So don’t think of it as losing precious time; think of it as gaining momentum. You’ll need less time to get the same amount of work done. Your business thrives and so will your employees. It’s really a no-brainer.

Not everything will work for every office. Talk to your employees and see what would help them!

Constructive criticism, not bluntness

I’ve experienced every leadership type under the sun, and I’ve had experience being a leader. What I’ve picked up on is that being a dictator has no benefits, unless you like your employees resenting you. You’ve probably heard the saying “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” It’s true. Don’t be a jerk. Have an open-door policy and show your employees that you care.

We like constructive criticism, but being blunt and rude will not inspire us. When your employees mess up or need some feedback, you can be honest. But don’t flat out say they suck (unless they are on thin ice and really need a reality check). It’s a fine line and comes down to what you think is right in the moment. But if you’re always blunt, you should rethink your strategy.

Bottom line: have empathy!

Attainable requirements for an entry-level position

I’ve been interested in so many positions, but there is always the infamous catch: five years of experience. How am I supposed to get that experience if no one will hire me? It’s frustrating and difficult. Keep an open mind and take a chance on a hard worker. You can always train someone for skills, but you can’t train passion and work ethic. This is all up to the person’s character.

But here’s what you probably care most about: what can we bring to the table? We’re innovative and creative. If we know of an easier or more efficient way to do something, we’re going to do it that way. Since we’re so in tune with technology and social media, we can help bring a cutting edge to your business. We’re new to the adult world, and we want to use our newly found knowledge to better the world!

Older generations will retire, and we will be there, ready to replace them. While we have a different work ethic, that does not mean we are bad workers. We are passionate, hard-working, and up for a challenge. Take a chance, open up your mind, and see how we can improve your business!