15 Important Qualities Millennials Look For Where They Work

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Millennials are known to be fickle in choosing their jobs, and staying with them. They’ve been studied by the U.S. Department of Labor, which calculated that the average tenure of millennial workers is hovering around three years. First of all, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; secondly, there are a lot of valid reasons for this “job-hopping.”

Young people today appear to have a very specific set of ideas regarding what they look for and value about each job they hold, and won’t always stick around if they don’t see those qualities sustained during their career. So, while employers spend time analyzing candidates to see if they’re the right fit, many millennials are poised to do the same of the people hiring them.

Heads up, employers everywhere, here’s what these young folks want from you:

1. Opportunities to make a difference.

According to Forbes, today’s young folks really do care about change. They want to make the world a better place, like a lot of idealistic young people do. The difference is, they really believe they can. “I want to teach at a school where kids really need a positive influence in their lives,” says Jessie Nastasi, 29, a school teacher in Virginia. “Everyone needs teachers, but if I have a choice in the matter, why not teach where kids need them a little a more?”

2. A comfortable relationship with bosses.

No more hierarchy. Millennials want to work for themselves, but if they can’t, they want their bosses to be people who are like mentors to them. They have a more laid-back approach to the office place, and feel much more at ease when others see it the same way. This goes along with number three.

3. A peaceful work environment.

Some people thrive on competition. Millennials don’t. Maybe it’s because of that “sharing is caring” motto they grew up with, but millennials definitely seem to want to work with, rather than against, their co-workers, even if it means less likelihood of getting ahead.

4. Flexible scheduling.

“I took my job because I can work from home sometimes,” says one Washington, D.C.-area millennial who works for a consulting company. The company that she works for allows employees to leave work early for “personal hours” devoted to exercise, or to participate in pre-approved volunteer work. The majority of the employees at this company are within the millennial age group, and they seem to adjust their hiring packages to appeal to them. Clearly, it’s working.

5. Good benefits.

In today’s work environment, where unemployment among millennials is around 5.4 percent, a lot of young people are just grateful for any job. Among those who are able to secure jobs, benefits are key. A lot of them have struggled to find work despite their strong educations and best efforts, and believe that when they finally succeed in finding a job, they should reap the full benefits.

6. Co-workers who are willing to work hard.

The collaborative environment that millennials crave is much less rewarding when employees lack the skills to help get the job done. They want people they can spend long nights at the office with, creating friendships built out of busy days and stressful projects.

7. Deadline-driven assignments.

Millennials may like flexibility, but deadlines help a lot. In the information age, they appreciate a clear task, and are able to accomplish it using their tech savvy.

8. The opportunity to use social media.

They know you hired them because they can tweet or create a Facebook page for your company. They’ll love the opportunity to actually do it, and awe you with their “social” skills.

9. Clear opportunity for growth.

Millennials do work hard. And they want to see results of this hard work. “I would never take a job where I knew there was no way to move up,” says Sarah Tarkoff, 27, who works as television script coordinator in Los Angeles. They want to achieve their goals, have the drive to do so, and frankly, aren’t extremely patient about getting where they want to be professionally. And that can be a good thing.

10. Recognition.

Right along the lines of seeing results or hard work, millennials also crave acknowledgment. At “most jobs, you’re going to be a cog in the machine,” says Tarkoff. “But it’s nice to be a valued cog.” This can encompass a few words of praise from a boss, or just a casual, “Thanks for working over the weekend,” comment from a higher-up. They’re not just words. They mean a lot.

11. Money, and lots of it.

The possibility of high future earnings is a key priority globally among millennials. Since work and “play” are so closely intertwined in their lives, high compensation seems to make lots of work a little more palatable.

12. Empathy.

A lot of older bosses don’t understand or believe younger employees who say they can do their work “from home” or out of the office. They’re not as used to relying on technology to get work done anywhere at any time. There seems to be a disconnect between more traditional-minded older bosses and their younger employees, according to The Washington Post.

13. The opportunity for ample leisure time.

Although millennials are likely to do some work on days off, and engage in leisure activities while at work, they do value a clear work/life balance. They want the opportunity to “work hard, play hard,” says Tarkoff. “I have a demanding job, and I want to really have quality free time when I have the chance. That’s how you get that balance.”

14. A sense of security.

A lot of millennials had trouble finding jobs when they graduated from college due to the state of the economy. They truly do value the jobs they have, and feeling unsure about their ability to keep said jobs can be a major obstacle in their professional lives. “I can’t really do my job well if everyone around me is getting fired or really even quitting because it’s a bad place to work,” observes George. “I need to know that I’m going to stay where I am, and that I’ll want to stay there.”

15. HR-friendly behavior.

In the laid-back, millennial-friendly environment, some people can get too comfortable. Laying down the law becomes aggressive rather than matter-of-fact. “Not enough companies know how to communicate to younger people in a way that they will be receptive to. Aggressive, even passive-aggressive bosses create a major problem and interfere with productivity at work.”

Got all that? This “list of demands” isn’t so unreasonable, or unlike previous generations of employees. The difference is, millennials know clearly what they want, have a strong sense of what they’re worth, and are able to get lots of work done quickly (if treated right). Call them entitled, cocky, or self-serving … but, whatever you do, don’t call them bad employees. They may seem fickle and ready to jump ship, but they’re able to help your company thrive if given the chance.