Attracting and retaining millennials and the generation behind them will mean companies will have to serve with a greater purpose.
That was according to John Spence, a speaker who specializes in customer service, who gave a webinar to Sail America members on Tuesday.
Meaningful work will become more important as millennials and Generation Z enter the workforce, Spence said.
“They don’t value the same things,” Spence said. “They’re No. 1 driver is purpose. They want to do something exciting and neat. They still want a title, and they want to be paid well, but at the end of the day, they will not stay if they don’t feel like they’re doing something important.”
That will make it crucial for companies to do things like work with kids, veterans, or make a positive contribution to the environment, Spence said
Research has shown that several factors make jobs attractive: fun, fairness, freedom, pride and praise have been on that list for a long time. Over the past two years, two additional factors were added to the list as millennials joined the workforce, Spence said — meaning and results.
Employees enjoy knowing their company raises money for the Ronald McDonald House, or donates to a local hospital, “something where people go, ‘I love the charity work we do. I’m so happy my company lets us invest time in money in that,’’” Spence said.
They also want to see results of their work, to point at something and say, “I did that,” Spence said.
Many millennials need a lot of feedback and prefer a collaborative approach via texts or in a one-on-one situation.
“The other thing is flexibility,” Spence said. “They really appreciate being able to work off campus. They want to be judged on output, not input.”
For those running factories and service departments, being able to work remotely isn’t often possible, but employers should try to find other ways to provide flexibility.
For example, Princess Yachts in England offers craftsmen four-day workweeks on rotating schedules so the company always has coverage but gives workers three days off.
“Remember, millennials are going to become the largest segment of the workforce in the next few years,” Spence said. “Some in this industry already have five generations at some of these companies, and they’re about to have six. That’s not going to be easy to manage.”