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5 Ways Millennials are Changing the Corporate Game

For today’s professionals, the vast majority of our waking hours are spent at work; and, thanks to technology (here’s looking at you, smartphone), work finds a way to commute home with us as well. So it comes as no surprise that employees have become increasingly intentional about pursuing a fulfilling career and seeking out work environments that cater to both personal and professional growth.  

As digital natives, millennials are playing a critical role in shaping technology’s influence on Corporate America. From social media to remote accessibility, it has never been easier to be plugged in and held accountable. But this pressure to always be “on” has had a market impact on employee expectations, wellbeing, and productivity, for better and for worse.

There is no doubt that all generations are contributing to the shifts across Corporate America; however, millennials’ prioritization of purpose and aptitude for technology have proven to be especially powerful when it comes to reimagining the future of work.

Here are some of the ways millennials are shaking up “business as usual” to transform traditional corporate culture:

Loosening the tie

Is dressing for “Summer Fridays” the new norm? Even the most traditional banking environments are scrapping the suit and tie in favor of a more business-casual dress code. While expectations around workwear may seem like a menial factor, in a highly competitive labor market, fewer formalities like these can reflect a more employee-centric culture, appeasing millennials who value greater flexibility and the ability to wear what makes feel most comfortable.

Inspiring intrapreneurship

Millennials are highly collaborative and are attracted to environments that enable idea-sharing and development between employees, teams, and departments. Given the pools of young talent who are eager to share their voice, combined with the size and resources of large corporations, companies have a huge opportunity to leverage millennials employees for innovation. This generation grew up idolizing entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Benioff. We encourage companies to embrace this new mindset and push millennial talent to become internal changemakers by tapping into their desire to create and problem-solve.

Focusing on mentorship

Research shows that two thirds of millennials would be willing to take a paycut to work at company offering good mentorship opportunities. This focus on professional and personal development is driving corporate environments to prioritize mentorship in order to retain talent and compete against more agile, non-hierarchical startups. We are also seeing the value of reversing roles between mentors and mentees, as younger talent is tapped to share certain skills and knowledge (often social media skills and digital know-how) with older cohorts in exchange for career advice.

Demanding flexibility

Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey found that flexible working arrangements support greater productivity and employee engagement while enhancing personal well-being, health, and happiness. The lines between home life and office life have become blurred (if not erased), and as a result, millennials are seeking out workplaces that are flexible enough to fit their lifestyle. With the advancement of online portals, cloud storage, and video conferencing, it’s in a company’s best interest to take advantage of the tools available to allow young talent to work wherever, whenever. Given that 76 percent of millennials say they’d take a pay cut for flexible office hours, companies should focus on emphasizing performance over presence.

Prioritizing parenthood

Last year, millennials made up 90% of new parents. About two-thirds of millennial women are employed, with their likelihood of staying in the workforce being twice that of their grandmothers -- a societal shift driving significant change in HR best practices and employee expectations. With partners sharing family responsibilities when it comes to household income and childrearing, family leave policies and healthcare benefits are an increasingly important consideration for young employees. From nursing rooms and paternity leave, to support groups and programs catering to mothers re-entering the workforce, millennials expect their workplace to prioritize work-life integration and family values as part of the employee culture.

Despite the stereotypes that millennials are only looking to work at companies with free food and in-house entertainment, this generation is challenging Corporate America to embrace new ways of thinking and operating. Millennials are having an unprecedented impact on the way we work, sparking change in workplace culture, management processes, and the tools we use to get the job done. Companies that recognize this shift and invite young talent to co-create the future workplace along with them will enjoy a huge competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the next generation of talent.