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The Ideal Millennial Work Environment

In Human Resources — by Erin Engstrom


There are a number of things that guide millennials in the workplace. They want to be happier than their parents, find more purposeful work and work with better companies. Millennials want their companies to align with their values. But with all these desires, what does a millennial’s ideal work culture look like? After looking at the numbers, we think we have a pretty good idea.

Leaders as People

Millennials may have a different view of how they’d like to work, but they still respect the more experienced generations in the workforce. They want to work for people who will inspire them to do great work. They’re not inspired by things like money or status, but rather by core competencies and personality traits. Here’s what they’re saying about leadership:

Tweet This: 39 percent of Millennials define leaders as strategic thinkers

Tweet This: 37 percent of Millennials define leaders as inspirational 

Tweet This: 34 percent of Millennials define leaders as personable

Tweet This: 31 percent of Millennials define leaders as visionary

Looking at these traits, we can connect the dots: Millennials don’t want the distant corporate leaders of yesteryear. They want to work for leaders who have a human air about them – people they may not necessarily get along with, but can respect. Maybe they’re amicable, think ahead, or are just plain good at what they do. Millennial want to identify certain characteristics in their leaders that make them feel great about working for them.

A Helping Hand

Millennials want someone to look up to. They want someone they can trust with more than just evaluations and questions about office policy. As they begin integrating into the workforce, they want people who will help them through the rough patches of starting at a new company, and guide them along the way. They want mentors.

Fifty-three percent of millennials surveyed said mentors would help them become better and more productive members of the company. Though the line between millennials and Generation X is a bit blurry (some sources place millennials as far back as 1976), many millennials are just beginning their careers.  They want the help of people who’ve been through the wringer, no matter what generation they’re from. And when generations work together, you find a unique combination of innovation, stability and collaboration.

Collaboration over Competition

Corporate culture has long defined itself as a competitive place, where people do everything they can to get ahead. Gen Y employees don’t abide by this cutthroat style of employment. Millennials have seen that money and status can’t buy happiness, and would rather work with their colleagues than against them. In fact, 88 percent of millennials prefer a collaborative workplace over a competitive one.

Not only does collaboration make employees happier, but around half of millennials say workplace friendships motivate them, and 30 percent say these friendships make them more productive. Of course there are tasks that only require one person. But when possible, encourage employees to team up and work together for the sake of their satisfaction and productivity. You’ll spark innovative ideas across the workplace generational divide.

According to millennials, the ideal work environment is one that’s mission-driven and collaborative. It’s a place where the people they work for inspire them to do great things, the people above them provide mentorship, and people they work with are more than just coworkers. It’s a wonderful place, isn’t it?

About the author
Erin Engstrom (@erinaengstrom) is Trakstar Hire’s outreach manager. I’m in Chicago for now, but hope to take advantage of Trakstar’s remote workplace and do the digital nomad thing. Relax and eat the elephant one bite at a time.

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