What Do Your Millennial Employees Really Want?

What do Millennials in the work force really want? One thing is loud and clear: They want their Facebook, Twitter and smartphones—and if your business doesn’t give them what they want, they’ll find an employer that will.

Millennial Employees

That’s a major finding from the second annual “Cisco Connected World Technology Report” which surveyed 1,400 college students and 1,400 young professionals under age of 30.  The report states:

“The growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace is creating a significant impact on job decisions, hiring and work-life balance.  The ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence job choice, sometimes more than salary.”

Here’s what you need to know:

For 33 percent of the respondents the abilities to use social media, bring their own technology devices for use at work, and work remotely are more important to them than salary when it comes to accepting a job. In fact, 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young employees were actually more likely to accept a lower-paying job with more flexibility about device choice, social media access and remote work, than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.

Millennials aren’t shy about making their technology demands known. Nearly two-thirds say they ask about social media policies during job interviews. And companies are listening: 41 percent of the employed respondents say their companies promoted a flexible device and social media policy specifically to recruit them.

For businesses struggling with IT security, allowing workers to access company networks on their personal devices, or use company devices for personal use, are crucial issues. But attempting to separate the two is a losing battle: More than 70 percent of respondents say they should be allowed to use company-issued devices for both personal and business use. Mixing business and personal is part of their lifestyle. What’s more, 81 percent would like to choose the devices they use at work, either by bringing a personal device or by getting money from the company to buy their own work device.

If you’re banning personal social media use at work, you probably already know it’s not working, but this study confirms it: More than half of respondents say if a company prohibits social media access on the job, they either wouldn’t work there, or would figure out a way to get around the policy.

What can a small business owner do? As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Of course you need to set policies that ensure your company’s devices, networks and data are secure. And you need to make sure all employees (of all ages) understand and follow them. But as this survey shows, if your policies are too draconian, they’re going to backfire.

Instead, harness the social media and tech savvy that Millennials bring to the table. Enlist them to use social media on behalf of your company. Smart businesses are already doing so: Nearly 33 percent of the respondents who had jobs say their familiarity with social media and ability to use devices contributed to their hiring.

Image from wrangler/Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

10 Reactions
  1. I find this information very profitable – thanks for this. I am a member of Generation X and not only do I leverage social media for business purposes, I hire staff who can do the same. Excellent post!

  2. Whats it matter if millennial’s use social media, its no big deal. Let them use their own devices if you can’t solve the security problems. However same rules apply as with all generations… set them goals related to desired outcomes and if they don’t make the grade get rid of them. This is just as we have done with past generations who like to gossip rather than work, drink on the job, or spent hours in the “smoko room”.

    Whats the big deal. value outcomes not supposed or vaguely apparent “effort”.


  3. I think you can sum up the finding with a single word – control. Millenials hate feeling like they’re being told what to do and they love the freedom to do things there own way (even though they often do it the same way as everyone else.)

  4. I hear you on the flexibility and the ability to work remotely. After all, it is about job satisfication, which is then followed by salary. Thank you for sharing this great insight.

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