Survey reveals four secrets to success for attracting and retaining millennial talent

Millennials, the 54 million adults aged between 18 and 34 in 2015, will soon surpass GenXers and Baby Boomers to become the largest generation at work. By 2020, they will make up half of the global workforce making them an opportunity audience to recruit and retain for SMBs.

This rapid “changing of the guard” has many business owners and hiring managers strategizing how to recruit and retain top millennial talent that is technologically savvy and poised to unleash innovation when given the right tools and corporate culture.

Microsoft recently commissioned new research among more than 1,000 millennials in the U.S. with SurveyMonkey that set out to address this very topic. As a result, we uncovered four secrets to success to help millennials thrive in the workplace:

  • Create a culture of collaboration
  • Offer the latest technology
  • Keep data safe
  • Have a strong purpose

The data also revealed certain nuances that can make the difference between a stable, thriving company and one plagued by high turnover and a millennial exodus.

Below are three best practices for your company to appeal to this important generation.

  • Foster a culture of collaboration: the number one attribute for millennials in the workplace — Contrary to the belief that millennials are digitally isolated, the research shows the majority of respondents said ‘good team collaboration’ was the most valuable attribute in their ideal workplace. Data showed that more than half have jobs that require frequent work in teams. Sixty-five percent preferred face-to-face meetings with their managers and 51 percent preferred in-person meetings when collaborating with others on projects. This could be a driving factor in why a surprising amount of millennials aren’t working remotely — 49 percent say they “never” work from home. And when employees are working remotely or on-the-go, challenges still exist. One-third of respondents noted editing or reviewing documents as their top challenge when working from a mobile device, while connectivity issues when joining a virtual meeting was the top challenge (42 percent).
  • Invest in a modern workplace — Not surprisingly, millennials in the workforce demand adequate technology to do their jobs, and almost all respondents (93 percent) said the latest technology was important in choosing an employer. From a recruitment standpoint, it’s significant to note this and encourage open communication among employees around what technology they need to be successful. In the past, you may have delayed technology purchases and upgrades until something broke or a new employee was hired. If you want to attract and retain top talent, business owners need to think about the technology that will enable employees to do their best work; not just get the work done. Making sure you are on the latest technology also increases your security — something that is top of mind for millennials. Security is no joke for them, perhaps due to the high-profile data breaches they have been exposed to time and time again — including millennial celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence. In fact, 81 percent of respondents said they consider security when developing, communicating and sharing sensitive information at work.
  • Live by a strong mission and value systems — Today’s younger workforce has an independent mindset and is looking to align their professional career with a higher purpose. They see their career paths as something they have control over instead of something that’s laid out for them (80 percent of respondents agreed they are creating their own career path). They’re also picking companies to work for that have clearly defined values and a strong mission, with 88 percent of respondents saying these traits are something that draws them to a company. A new global survey released at the World Economic Forum found that 65 percent of millennials said one of their top three goals in selecting a job was to make a difference in society, their city or country. Millennial Aaron Marks, owner of Seattle-based TurnPoint Technology and a Microsoft technology partner, likes to align his company’s values with his clients. For example, he is proud to work with RIDOLFI, an environmental engineering and scientific consulting firm that helps solve habitat, water, waste and energy issues.

The world of work is changing — from the workforce to workstyle preferences to the technology that enables people to do their best work. In an effort to help companies and their employees adapt to the new world of work, Microsoft listened to customers and developed the new Office 2016 to make collaboration easier, and take the work out of working together.

It’s an exciting time to be in business. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to remove barriers to progress and empower your teams to do and achieve more.

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