The material in this blog post is derived from Thom and Jess Rainer’s book
The Millenials: Connection to America’s Largest Generation
The title of this article needs some explanation. By Millenials, I am referring to the generation born between the years 1980 and 2000. Although only a small percentage (around 10%) of this generation are evangelical Christians, they are still “a chosen generation” for two reasons. First, of the remnant that God has called out for Himself, their faith is as genuine as any other generation, and maybe more so because they have to be able to defend their faith before their peers. Secondly, they have many wonderful characteristics that make them a great asset to the kingdom – and therefore your Christian workplace.
Just to keep things straight, here is a list of the modern generations:
• The Greatest Generation 1900-1927
• The Silent Generation 1928-1945
• The Baby Boomers 1946-1964
• Generation X 1965-1979
• The Millenials 1980-2000
Like the Baby Boomers, the Millenials are a huge generation (78 million strong!), and as such will certainly have a great impact upon the world. But there are other reasons that this generation will be hard to miss.
The Millenials believe in themselves. They were raise to believe that they can do anything and that education is the key to success. They are on track to be the most educated generation to date. Although they value a healthy work/life balance, they aren’t afraid to work hard. And they want to make a difference in the world. In fact, the Millenials aren’t focused on themselves, but rather live to help others. They are a hopeful generation, confident that they can be great. But they don’t define greatness in the same way previous generations did. For the Millennials greatness is a means to a greater good, not fame or power in and of itself. They have a deep respect for their elders and look to them for guidance. They are teachable. Relationships are made a priority, with face to face interaction a must despite their proficiency with technology.
For all of these reasons, Christian organizations should be seeking out the Millennial generation, which is just now entering the workplace in full force.
So, what does the Millennial Generation think about work? Here are the top 5 factors when it comes to job selection and satisfaction for this generation:
1) Proper work/life balance.
2) A fair salary and benefits.
3) A fun environment.
4) Some flexibility in their schedule.
5) Structure and feedback.
In explanation of these values, you should know that the one thing that Millenials value most is relationships. They aren’t averse to working hard, but they want to work someplace where they will be supported in their efforts to dedicate the time necessary to family and friends. They care about a good salary and opportunities for advancement because they want to be able to provide for those they care about, pay for the technology that keeps them connected, and travel to visit those who don’t live close by. Likewise, a flexible schedule is desired so that occasional trips to visit family are possible. Their expectations of a fun work environment don’t mean going over the top and thus hurting productivity, but rather they know that this is important to foster healthy relationships with the people they interact with at the office.
With these insights into what the Millenials are looking for in a job, here are some strategies you can use to attract them and retain them at your workplace:
1) Treat them fairly (they will know if you don’t).
2) Provide clear expectations.
3) Respect their personal and social relationships.
4) Make your office fun.
5) Be a transparent leader.
6) Listen to them.
There are also some things that you may be surprised to learn about this generation’s attitudes about work.
They don’t feel compelled to work for a company that is making the world a better place. This means that you are going to have to compete with secular organizations even for Christian employees. Meaningful work, although appreciated, won’t make up for lower wages and poor benefits.
Although the Millenials prefer casual work attire, this really isn’t a big deal to them. It is important, however, to communicate to them why they are expected to dress as they do. They will listen.
Most have no desire to work from home. Rather they value the accountability, structure, and mentoring opportunities offered from an office environment.
That leads me to my final point. 3 out of 4 Millenials would like to have a mentor. They are looking to learn from your wisdom and would be delighted if you offered to take them under your wing. Why wait?