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HR Strategy Session: What Millennials Look for in the Workplace

Posted by: Denise Reid, Executive Director Mosaic & Workforce on Thursday, August 13, 2015

As millennials take over baby boomers as the largest population in the workplace there will be changes in the workforce landscape.  There are lot of questions and misperceptions about the different generations in the workplace. The chamber held an HR Strategy Session to specifically ask a panel of millennials about their career migration and what they look for in the workplace. It was a lively and interactive discussion with over forty people in the audience.

Talent attraction and retention is central to the chamber’s strategic plan so we thought it was worth providing a recap of what we learned during the facilitated discussion with local millennials.

Our moderator was Harlan Ross, Compensation Analyst with Williams and our panelists were Clarence Boyd, Community Development Banking Officer with BOK Financial, Lacey Taylor, Alzheimer’s Walk Coordinator with Alzheimer’s Association and Rodrigo Rojas, Director of Operations at La Semana USA.

Company culture is a key driver of retention for millennials. They look for companies that have corporate social responsibility that matches with their own personal and professional goals and values. They are seeking employers that are invested and engaged with the community and their employees, which includes job growth horizontally and/or vertically, but most important is the opportunity learn and experience new challenges.

Millennials look for a wide range of things in their jobs. Job diversity is important. They want to feel like they are impacting the bottom line of their company.  Millennials want to understand companies operationally from a big picture perspective. They are interested in projects that span other departments and enjoy the opportunity to lead projects. Stability is important and if a company offers the right challenges millennials will be loyal as well. Recognition is important and they crave constant and continual feedback to help them grow as a professional. They respect positive and negative feedback as long as is it is provided in a way that isn’t detrimental to their career.

Millennials aren’t looking for work life balance, they are seeking work life integration.  What’s the difference?  They want to be with a company that allows them to manage their whole life at one time. They are accustom to managing life this way.  They want to be active in the community and want the flexibility to be involved. They are connected 24/7 so they can manage workload a little differently but they also want to have down time with family and friends. Millennials don’t see it as they are turning work on and off, it’s a part of who they are.

Millennials are entrepreneurial in nature, they enjoy being creative and excelling in their job.  They want to have strong networks internally and in the community that are a broad cross-section of diverse individuals that includes executive and senior leadership. They want to know they are making an impact on the bottom line.

All of our panelists agreed that internships or work experience was an important aspect of their college experience. Internship programs are a great way to build a pipeline to young talent.  Setting up a program that is project focused allows for college students to get real world experience and interface with leadership in a company/organization. If a company’s internship program is set up properly, your former interns become ambassadors for your brand and company. They will help tell your story which intern provides a pipeline to skilled and engaged talent.

Millennials are our future leaders.  Our panelist did an exceptional job telling their story, highlighting their companies and the opportunities they provide them. They didn’t mention money as a decision maker for their jobs, they aren’t job hoppers and they didn’t look at their phones once.  Stereotypes aren’t always true.  Tulsa’s Young Professionals are skilled, diverse and talented. Let’s invest in our local talent and attract more to our region!

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