Each time new generations grow up and join the workforce, they bring new traditions, hopes, and expectations with them. Knowing how to attract and retain millennial employees might seem a bit more complicated than attracting and retaining Gen X and baby boomers may have been.
But doing the work and learning how to attract and retain millennial employees (and Gen Z!) can really pay off for architecture, engineering, construction, and manufacturing organizations since they’ll bring fresh ideas and skills with them.
Let’s look at six things that younger generations look for in employers:
- Cutting-edge technology
- Continuous learning resources
- Flexible or remote work
- Meaningful company mission/culture
- Growth opportunities
- Trust and autonomy
Along the way, we’ll share insights from Eagle Point’s own Chief Operating Officer Steve Biver.
“Older Millennials, myself included, have begun to take on leadership roles, and we have several years of the Gen Z generation already entered into the workforce,” Biver says. “And they have differing opinions on the business world! Their expectations regarding promotions, jumping to new companies, learning opportunities, workplace benefits, and office culture are challenging current business leaders’ strategies.”
Young workers don’t have much patience for old tech. If they’re coming straight from college or a startup environment, they may already be used to working with new tech and don’t want to downgrade.
This is particularly important in AEC environments, as Biver explains. “Technology is being improved, updated, and released at a faster pace than ever before,” he says.
“Many years ago, the AEC community moved from drafting boards to AutoCAD. Then we moved from AutoCAD to 3D modeling tools like Revit and Civil 3D. Now, AR, VR, and Digital Twins have started to come into the picture. Tomorrow there will be more technology! There will be constant pressure on AEC firms to stay up to date. This pressure is going to come from the younger generation of employees and customers demanding the use of new technologies.”
Continuous learning resources
Following up on his previous point, Biver adds, “Investing in these cutting-edge technologies and staying ahead of the tech curve is only half of the battle. If your employees don’t understand how to use them effectively, they’re essentially going to go to waste.”
A survey from UK-based CWJobs found that only 9% of companies surveyed said they had trained staff on the technology they invested in during 2020. That’s 91% of companies that aren’t helping their employees use their technology investments to their fullest potential.
That’s why continuous learning is the next point on this list! Millennials and Gen Z’ers grew up in the age of information, and they’re used to having learning at their fingertips. This also means they don’t just want their employers to ship them off to week-long conferences (or have an occasional Lunch and Learn) and neglect training the rest of the year.
“The key here is to prioritize learning – but not just a session or two to teach employees the basics of a program,” Biver says. “Learning should be ongoing and constantly evolving in response to changes in technology and employees’ feedback.”
A flexible, accessible e-learning system like Pinnacle Series offers the perfect solution for your internet-era staff. Users can take online courses or search for short on-demand training videos to solve project problems on the spot. Give your employees access to quality AEC training, and they will thrive!
This can have a direct impact not just on your retention but on each team’s productivity, as Biver points out: “In my opinion, if we provide the right learning opportunities to our staff, more will stay, and more will perform at higher production rates.”
Flexible or remote work
Even before the pandemic, a shift had started to happen in millennial workplace preferences. When work can be done from anywhere there’s a computer, younger generations don’t see the point in commuting to an office every day. They also want employers who are understanding of work-life balance and offer flexibility and benefits to match. As an AEC & M organization, you may not be able to offer fully remote positions, but even a few days of WFH each week can entice these candidates.
Learn about how Pinnacle Series, with its robust e-learning and knowledge management features, makes remote work easier for AEC teams.
Meaningful company mission/culture
“We also have large mind shifts coming in and taking over the business world,” Biver says.
As a LinkedIn survey demonstrates, millennials tend to be a value-driven generation. They want to have a positive impact on the world, belong to an organization that cares about their community, and feel like their work has purpose. Focus on defining your company culture and looking for candidates who share your values.
What’s one of the reasons that millennials are known to job-hop more frequently than previous generations? Lack of growth!
“According to an IBM study, employees are 12 times more likely to leave a job due to perceived barriers to their career growth,” Biver shares.
And from their perspective, this makes perfect sense! If a company is reluctant to promote internally or give meaningful raises, employees will move somewhere that does provide growth and development opportunities.
Check out this previous Eagle Point blog post to learn about how Pinnacle Series helps improve employee retention.
Trust and autonomy
Last but not least, millennials tend to dislike micromanagement. Collaboration is one thing, but shoulder-staring and nitpicking managers won’t create the right culture fit for most young employees.
Circumvent this by putting the reins in their hands when possible. For instance, adopt an e-learning system that enables employees to upskill themselves and find answers without having to run around the office asking people! Pinnacle Series was designed to allow employees to learn at their own pace, on their own time.
Interested in learning how to attract and retain millennial employees with the help of Pinnacle Series? Get in touch for a demo or free trial with our team today!
If you’re already a subscriber, you can log in now to explore the features you can use to help attract and retain millennial employees, including our KnowledgeSmart assessments integration and on-demand learning resources.