7 Things Millennial Workers Want

You’ve spent time and money recruiting, hiring and training your youngest employees. You’ve given them a good benefits package, decent pay and a job in a tough employment market. So why are 43% of employees in their 20s and 30s planning to look for a new job this year?

Aon Hewitt, in its Inside the Employee Mindset, found that this demographic, the millennial generation, largely believes their employers’ values focus on organizational themes—teamwork, profit and customer satisfaction. Millennial hires want something else. They want relationship-oriented values from their employer—work/home balance, employee recognition, respect and, ironically, loyalty. Other values they desire, that employers don’t list as high on the priority scale, include professional growth, fairness, humor/fun, clarity and employee well-being.

The difference in value-focus between employers and millennial employees negatively affects “engagement and retention of this generation and may be one of the primary reasons why millennials will be looking for new opportunities in 2015,” Aon Hewitt’s employee research leader Ray Baumruk, says.

Here’s what millennials told Aon Hewitt they want:

  1. Pay and benefits (51 percent)
  2. Good career or development opportunities (39 percent)
  3. Performance recognition (38 percent)
  4. Open/complete communication (34 percent)
  5. Flexible work environment (33 percent)
  6. Fun (30 percent)
  7. Having a strong management and leadership team (30 percent).

While that may be an easy list to check off, it’s more complicated. Survey respondents expect to feel appreciated for their efforts and be empowered in the workplace. The survey indicates there is significant opportunity for employers who offer a compelling work experience that matches the younger generation’s at-work values, and that should, in turn, increase long-term retention, Pam Hein, partner for communication consulting at Aon Hewitt, says.

Some buzzwords from the study to think about: free flow of information, authenticity, reliability of co-workers, flexibility, empowerment, appreciation, and direction.