Our second insight is about what motivates millennials to work. It was clear from our research that millennials work and make money to enjoy life. Whether the outcome is in providing for family, acquiring things they treasure or to travel, the job provides the means to live the lives they want. All generations have this same drive one way or another.
The two of us are in two different generations and have experienced the same drive ourselves as well as through our parents. One of us grew up in rural Indiana and his father’s goal in working was to provide a good safe living situation for the family and go on vacation every year to Florida or Niagara Falls. That is what you did back then. This has not changed for most people, though the vacation destinations might be somewhat different. What is different in motivation is that millennials have made it clear they want to work for organizations that do “something that makes life better.” They want assurance that their employer has a purpose “in the world.” This wish is usually not an employment deal breaker, but if given the choice, millennials will usually choose the employer that aligns best with their personal values and world views. Other generations may have wanted to work for great companies, but this generation appears more passionate about a company’s purpose. Maybe this is because there have been so many organizations that have disappointed or disappeared due to bad business – and in the process laid off millions of employees. Many of us have been let go or know family members, friends or colleagues who have been separated. As millennials, many have experienced it firsthand with their own parents. Trust is a big deal, more than in the past. More on trust later….
So, millennials are different in that they don’t trust their employer as much as prior generations and with good reason and that motivates them to connect with a values based employer before they jump into a particular culture.