What Millennials Care About

Generation Y a.k.a. Millennials a.k.a. you have a whole new outlook on life and how to approach it, especially in regards in career. You no longer accept a meaningless number crunching, paper pushing job as a career. You want to be able to use your mind in new ways, collaborate and have fun. You want to continue to learn and grow while you love what you do. That’s what you want and that’s what we want for you.

There has been a lot of research and articles about your generation. Here, Forbes breaks down the characteristics of millennials and what matters to them:

Meaningful Work

Millennials just want to earn a good living while doing work that matters, or so the pundits say. Well, duh! Who doesn’t want to earn a good living? And who would prefer to do meaningless work for marginally more pay? If I paid you well to dig big holes and then fill them, how long would it take for you or any average human being to say, “Hey! As long as I am going to be here anyway, would you like me to build something?”

Everybody wants to earn a good living doing work that matters, because if you show me my time doesn’t matter, I start to think that maybe I don’t matter. What is a boss to do?

If you want to motivate someone, connect him directly to his work. Have him sign his work, and then sit back to marvel as quality steadily improves.

Opportunities to Collaborate

Most Millennials love being a part of a team. I can think of three reasons why:

1. The school system rewards the team rather than the individual in sports—everyone gets a trophy.
2. Technology supports online team play (think of video games).
3. Millennials have never lived in a time when the U.S. was not at war. The military (the ultimate promoters of teamwork) has left us with a generation, maybe two, that knows how to collaborate to solve problems in fluid conditions.

As employees—and again, we want to avoid bucketing—Millennials are not wallflowers. They want to be part of the action. They don’t want to observe, they want to participate, and they want their views to carry weight.

Here is something to consider: is it because of this generation’s love of diversity that they invite everyone to play, or is it because everyone gets to play that they appreciate diversity? Very interesting!

In 1965, fat girls did not become cheerleaders, pregnant girls did not marry wearing white, and nearsighted boys weren’t going to be cool even if they could dance…which they could not. In most cities, black kids did not hang with white kids, poor kids did not hang with rich kids, and Baptist kids did not hang with Catholics or Jews.

It is not that way in the 21st century. If you are a Millennial, none of the previous labels rise to the level of attention. And that is an ideal situation for leaders smart enough to harness the everybody-is-welcome-to-play power of Millennial teams.


All work and no…the next word is play, p-l-a-y. Many Boomers even have difficulty pronouncing the word in a work environment. It is, after all, a workenvironment! (Most Millennials say the older generations have a better work ethic…and they do!) But watch any high-performance team for a full day, and you will discover the value of humor. This is particularly true when the work environment is a little stressful. Millennials expect work to be punctuated at least occasionally with humor and fun.

Freedom of Choice

While a Traditional would accept almost any order as long as it came through the proverbial chain of command, Boomers and Gen X might hesitate but comply. But Millennials will balk at doing things “the way we’ve always done it” because they want freedom of choice in everything. They may not balk at the assignment itself but instead may challenge the methodology.

This quirkiness over process goes hand in hand with their desire to control their work life in order to balance it against their home life. In an odd way, this is similar to the Boomers, who let life click away, one time-clock punch after the other. The only difference is the unit of measurement: Boomers’ time put in versus Millennials’ results achieved. Think about that for thirty seconds, and tell me which works in favor of the boss.

(image via Inc.)