What do Millennials want?

One focus of our research program is understanding the way companies are planning for and responding to Millennials entering the workforce—and identifying gaps in thinking between Millennial employees and executives.

In November 2013, SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott gave a keynote speech on the Millennial workforce at the Northern Virginia Technology Council.  As reported in this post from Lindsey LaManna, McDermott explored some shared characteristics of Millennials—including their focus on digital technology and desire for meaningful careers— and outlined the ways companies can create a culture that appeals to them.

As proven by the wealth of articles arguing over what Millennials really want and how they compare to generations that preceded them, assessing the characteristics and capabilities of an entire generation is no simple task. But as difficult as it is for companies to plan for these new employees, they are already thinking about Post-Millennials—those born around the late 1990s and early 2000s. It’s nearly impossible to assign characteristics to a generation of which the oldest members are currently only 14, but companies are beginning to speculate on what will matter to this group when they enter the workforce, and how they will contribute.

Reluctant-to-retire Boomers alter workplace dynamic

American workers are increasingly putting off retirement. And that has major implications for workforce planning as organizations struggle with the diverse needs and abilities that define each generation.

Driven in part by a lack of retirement savings, older employees are staying in their jobs longer than was the norm just two decades ago. That creates challenges — and opportunities — for employers as younger generations crowd into the workforce.

We hear a lot about the wants and needs of Millennials, and these younger workers will be a key focus of our work here. But other demographics are important to our story, too, and we’ll be giving them plenty of attention.

We’re fortunate to have Karie Willyerd, the author of this post (and co-author of The 2020 Workplace:How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today) involved in our research project. She was an integral member of the team that created our two global surveys, and will play an important role in analyzing the data and shaping our narratives as well.