Report: Employers should meet Millennial demand for development, feedback

A Payscale and Millennial Branding survey found that a majority of Millennials say they value opportunities for career advancement.

Report: Employers should meet Millennial demand for development, feedback

An aptitude for technology and a hunger for development are some of the traits Millennials bring to the workplace, according to a report released recently by PayScale and Millennial Branding, Generations at Work. These traits have implications for all employers as this dynamic generation makes its mark on the workforce.

Millennials want career development opportunities

Millennials (aged 18-30) are interested in career development, the report found. Seventy-two percent of Millennials say they value opportunities for career advancement, compared with 52 percent for boomers and 64 percent for Gen-Xers.

This hunger to learn new skills and express their creativity spells opportunity for employers who want to retain high-performing Millennials. “Millennials believe they can achieve anything with the right opportunities and access to learning and development,” says business consultant Peter Stark. “However, less than 2 percent of Millennials feel they have an employer or supervisor who encourages their professional growth, which creates a real opportunity for leaders to fill this gap.”

“Leaders need to have a dialogue with Millennials about their career aspirations and development goals and put what they learn into action,” Stark says. “This may be providing the Millennials with a leadership development program, or it may be assigning the individual to a meaningful and challenging project. Millennials are not opposed to putting in the hours — they are focused on getting the job done right. But if that job isn’t meaningful, why would they waste their time, talents and other opportunities?”

And Millennials want careers. A 2013 Monster/GfK survey showed that when it comes to having a career versus a job, Gen Y-ers were the most positive that having a career is very much a reality.

Employers should tap Millennials’ tech savvy

According to the report, Millennials are fluent in technology that didn’t exist even 10 years ago, and their ease with learning new technologies is an advantage for employers.

“As for business, I love that their love for technology is constantly pushing the status quo,” says Grace Lanuza, founder and CEO of Grace Lanuza Consulting. “Gone are the days of the telegram and rotary phones, enter texting and smart phones with apps! Tech is the future so why not embrace it in the workplace if it's moving business forward in a more efficient and measurable way? This gives the chance for Millennials to tutor the Gen-Xers and boomers, hopefully another step closer in bridging the culture gap in the work place.”

The report found that some of the key technologies Millennials use include Autodesk Sketchbook, Google analytics and social media optimization.

Millennials crave feedback

The report found that Millennials are more likely to say they want a manager who is friendly and provides a lot of feedback than boomers and Gen-Xers. Alyssa Ruderman, campaigns manager at DoSomething.org, is a Millennial and one of the editors of “The XYZ Factor,” a soon-to-be-released book about Millennials in the workplace. She says having a manager who provides useful feedback often is vital for Millennials.

“We need feedback that is structured, productive and actionable,” she says. “We’d actually prefer to hear something specific, even if it’s specifically what we did wrong. Give us enough to work with.” Millennials want to know what they’ve done well on, where they fell short and how to do better next time.

“What it ultimately comes down to, is that feeling valued is incredibly important to us,” Ruderman says. “If we don’t feel valued, then we start to question why we’re doing what we’re doing and we’ll likely move on. We feel valued when you take the time to evaluate us. Regularly. We recognize that your time is valuable, so when you dedicate some of it to assessing our work, we know you’re invested.”