All About Millennials


By Marie Kölle, Change Consultant @ Newmanity

Who are these millennials?

Today, more than a third of employees belong to the Millennials Generation Y and by 2025, it will probably be up to two-thirds. But who are these legendary millennials?

Millennials are people born between 1985 and 2000 and are also referred to as Generation Y ("why"). The name refers to the characteristic of questioning of everything. Previous generations include the Baby Boomers (1945-1960) and Generation X (1960-1985). The next generation, born after 2000, is called Generation Z.

Millennials are considered the first digital natives. In their youth, they have come into contact with digital devices for the first time. This has not only shaped the lifestyle and consumption behavior of the generation, but also their attitude towards the world of work. To what extent this is true and what makes the millennials really special, we would like to unravel in our blog post.

The masters of improvisation

The millennials are considered the masters of improvisation. They have long adapted to the volatile labor market. The generation that has grown up on fixed-term contracts knows how to take advantage of the flexibility gained. The millenials do not see a problem in changing an employer several times and they have learned to keep a back door open.

In addition, the Y's are aware of the benefits of digitization and the possibilities of globalization. They are used to the inexhaustible source of information Internet and are aware of the worldwide job alternatives. And even though it sometimes overwhelms the flood of information and opportunities, it makes the millennials more independent than the generations before them. Generation Y does not want to be restricted in its freedom, unless the conditions are in line with their expectations. Occasionally, the Millennials are therefore also referred to as "ego-tactics".

Millennials are also more mobile than any other generation before them. Global networking removes many of the hurdles of a career abroad. English is like a second mother tongue to most millennials, and they often speak other languages. This is one reason why relocations abroad inspire enthusiasm among many young employees. For employers, this means global workforce, but also global competition in the struggle for qualified personnel.

What do they really want?

Before companies start savagely reorganizing their business, for example, to offer millennials new, digital opportunities, they should first understand what young workers want. At this point we try to shed some light on the darkness and to unravel the mystery of the wishes of the Millennials.

According to a Kienbaum study from 2016, in which 270 university graduates in Germany were interviewed, the collegial working atmosphere is the number one decision criterion for those looking for a new job. The Millennials want a pleasant working day with nice colleagues, a good atmosphere and fun at work.

The second most important criterion is the work-life balance, closely followed by career and continuing education opportunities. The Millennials are looking for an employer that offers them opportunities for advancement, but it is important to them, despite their careers, to be able to enjoy their private lives. In order to achieve a balanced work-life balance, some employers already offer flexible working time models, a modern workplace design, childcare and sports offers as well as work in the home office.

"Fun at work, a balanced work-life balance and time accounts instead of cash accounts."

A good payment is only in fifth place for the Y's when it comes to choosing a new job. Apart from that, graduates are interested in the internationality of projects and colleagues, creativity and innovation in the workplace, job security and flat hierarchies in their jobs. The same applies to modern technologies. The Generation Y is used to fast, uncomplicated communication, of course, they also want to be able to use them in the workplace. This may also explain the popularity of startups as an employer among the millennials. Because startups are not only the epitome of internationality but also stand for creativity, innovation and flat hierarchies.

Think different! But only a little.

To sum it up:  If you want to find and keep the right talent as a company, it makes little sense to focus on the needs of specific age groups and to align its talent strategy to it. Focus on actions that are relevant to all (future) employees regardless of demographic factors and that contribute to a heterogeneous and high-performance team. Authenticity is the most important aspect here. People are first and foremost individuals, and authenticity helps companies to find and retain not only the best talent, but above all the right people.

Finally, it remains to be noted that employers do not have to change much to stay attractive to young workers. Of course, companies should continue to evolve and change, but they should do that for the company and not for the millennials. Contrary to all assertions, they do not demand much new information from the companies.

At the end of the day, it’s all about having employees of all ages and occupations, real development opportunities, a team with a good spirit and working hours that allow for work-life balance.