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What do millennials want?

Global /

Who are the millennials? Generation Y, or the generation born between 1982 and 2004, is often described as highly educated, extremely motivated individuals who know exactly what they want—qualities that many employers value.

But these 20-somethings also have a reputation for job hopping, being overdemanding and having an inflated sense of self—attributes that infuriate employers.

Indeed, millennial workers evoke in employers a sense of excitement for the potential they represent as well as the dread of having to manage them.

Most important, companies such as yourself have to deal with them, especially if you need to attract them in business functions, such as integrated facilities management (IFM), where the current workforce is aging rapidly.

So, let’s dig deep to uncover the truth about the millennial worker.

Engage, not endure

According to a JLL report, Millennial interest in facilities management: The key to closing the growing talent gap, millennials want to be engaged and yearn to have a positive impact on the organization they are working for.

When asked what the most important consideration in a job is, 22 percent of millennials said liking what they do ranks on top. Salary comes in second place, with 17 percent saying good wages help. Coming in a close third is the working environment, with 13 percent voting for a workplace that meets their needs.

If these needs are not met, millennial workers are not afraid to jump ship to another employer able to meet their expectations. In fact, 60 percent of millennials have been reported to leave their companies in less than three years.

What can you do to inspire loyalty and avoid these high attrition rates?

Connection to a bigger picture. that: “The best workplaces give their employees a sense of purpose, help them feel they belong, and enable them to make a difference.”

A great example of a company doing this well is Google. Although most do not understand exactly how Google’s search engine works, its mission is clear: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It builds a simple, active and meaningful connection to the company.

Personal and professional growth. Gallup has found that “opportunities to learn and grow” is one of the top three factors in retaining millennials and the only aspect of retention that separates millennials’ needs from those of nonmillenials.

Perhaps the reason why inbound marketing firm HubSpot is among the top for Glassdoor’s 50 best places to work in 2016 is its heavy emphasis on employee growth across all division. The company sponsors a wide range of activities—from tuition reimbursement to opportunities to take on challenges beyond employees’ core responsibilities.

Opportunities to try new roles within the organization. 37 percent of millennials like knowing that internal hiring is part of the policy. A company that hires internally is a positive for them, as, unlike previous generations, millenials are comfortable switching employers every few years in search of better opportunities.

Recognizing this, Facebook encourages its people to routinely change roles within the company based on their strengths and career objectives. It’s not unusual for an individual to be hired for one job, and then quickly transition to another based on his or her initial performance. All employees are encouraged to switch roles based on their skill sets.

In short, millennials need to be engaged with the right strategies and not simply endured.

The IFM talent gap

The challenges to meet the varied needs of the millennial workforce are amplified in the IFM industry, which is fast facing a talent shortage.

The IFM market in Southeast Asia is expected to grow steadily over the next few years, expanding at a double-digit rate a year, according to a research report Southeast Asia Integrated Facilities Management Market Forecast to 2021 by Frost & Sullivan.

Despite increasing demand for IFM services, research shows that the talent supply is lagging because of a retiring baby boomer IFM workforce—the average age of a facilities management (FM) professional is 49, six years higher than the average age of the general working population.

Even more alarming is the skills gap that has grown between the current crop of FM professionals and the rapid technological change that is taking place.

FMJ reported that US companies spent US$162.2 billion on employee learning to help their workers keep up with the latest technology in 2012.

While engaging millennials may be the right step to take, more can be done to meet this rising demand.

Plugging the gap

One alternative to close this gap is outsourcing.

“Self-delivering FM is not the most productive use of corporate resources,” says Susheel Koul, International Director, IFM, Asia Pacific at JLL. “It is hard for companies to keep millennials excited with routine excitement and career progression.”

On the contrary, IFM providers are better resourced because retaining IFM talents, including millennial talents, is part of their core business.

These providers are able to accommodate challenging career choices with rapid advancement for the right talent. Leveraging on deeper technology investments can also raise the standard of service delivery and change the way people traditionally perceive the IFM business—drawing potential millennial talent to the industry in the process.

“Technology is looking likely to be the key driver of how IFM will get delivered in the future. Further digitization of this business will be akin to working in any tech-savvy environment with lots of data to play with,” says Koul, adding it would attract a different talent pool.

The talent gap between demand and supply for FM continues to grow. Is your team struggling to keep up? Perhaps it is time to start considering alternative solutions.

Interested to find out more about Future of Work? Learn more about our outlook on the changing world of work here.

For successful navigation around this talent gap, speak to our experts.