When young employees from Generation Y started entering the workforce in the aughts, employers suddenly faced new challenges. Millennials arrived with expectations that were inconceivable a decade before. Since then, corporate cultures and workplaces have been turned upside down. Companies who acted early and fast are now well-positioned to attract top talent.

Life — and work — has changed significantly in the first two decades of the 21st century. Technology has undoubtedly had a major influence, but the latest generation to enter the workforce has arguably played the biggest role. More than one-third of Europe’s workforce now belongs to Generation Y. Although people sometimes accuse millennials of being selfish, lazy know-it-alls, the truth is they simply have a very different outlook. That’s forcing employers to rethink how they structure the workplace.


The millennial mindset

Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials grew up in an environment full of promise; most of the world enjoyed peace and growing prosperity during their childhoods. They learned the value of a good education and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Gen Y also came of age at a time when workplace co-determination was becoming more common here in Europe. Workers everywhere were gaining a larger say in business decisions.

Then, the digital revolution began. While millennials were still in their teens, they eagerly adopted technological innovations such as the iPhone. Today, the world’s first generation of “digital natives” are tech-savvy young adults who expect to be connected at all times.

“They want things to be different, and they’re letting employers know it.”

These experiences have shaped the attitudes millennials bring to the workplace, which is why many are frustrated with rigid hierarchies and antiquated notions surrounding employment. After experiencing so much change, they are less likely to accept the status quo. They want things to be different, and they’re letting employers know. For example, climbing the corporate ladder is not a top priority. A highly functional team that values both camaraderie and performance is. Millennials prefer dialogue and sharing to rules and regulations. In their fast-paced world of posts and likes, they crave attention and recognition over status and prestige. In short: they expect to work with, not for their employers.


Focus on flexibility

Flexibility is also something millennials take for granted. While previous generations left work behind at the office, Gen Y carries it around with them everywhere they go. Connectivity has blurred the lines between professional and private lives. They expect to make their own work schedules and have free time throughout the workday. Performing at work is no more important than maintaining their own well-being. Millennials focus on self-care — fitness, a healthy diet, adequate time off, and sufficient sleep — more than any generation before them. The flip side is that they are not afraid to work after hours or during time off when needed.

“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated to everyone what millennials have known for years — flexible working conditions are better working conditions.”

It’s about quality of life

Employers would be well-advised to tailor their businesses to these values and needs. Without meaningful work, a team environment, and a purpose, talented young people will find the door fast. That’s because they’re in high demand — and they know it. Demographic change is on their side: More and more baby boomers are bidding farewell to the office, and it will be nearly impossible to fill in the gap they leave behind. A talent war has ensued. But instead of just outbidding each other with higher salaries, companies are competing on quality of life. The good news is, the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated to everyone what millennials have known for years — flexible working conditions are better working conditions.

At Marcuard Heritage, we’ve always believed there was a better way. Our founders cut their teeth in the banking world but left it to build a wealth management firm based on independence and integrity. Now, we have created a culture that values freedom, individuality, and teamwork across generations. Our international team of experts is made up of entrepreneurial people driven by a common purpose: meeting the needs of our clients.

This puts us in a great position to provide precisely the kind of workplace millennials are looking for and ensure our team is well-balanced for success.