Millennials Want Feedback, Transparency, Growth & More From Work – And So Should You!

February 18, 2014 2 Comments
millennials want feedback, transparency, meaningful work
The nearly 80 million Millennials who are either already in the workforce or about to enter it, will fundamentally change how business is conducted. (Source)

Millennials will make up almost half (46 percent) of the workforce by 2020, and will be in the majority by 2025, as they will comprise up to 75 percent of the workforce. It’s crucial that leaders and managers take time to understand how this generation will affect the world of business.

Being a part of ‘generation Y’, and a millennial (those of us born between 1980-2000), I find it amusing how other generations look at us. Mostly, they think we’re selfish. In a way they are right, but this “me me me” attitude can actually prove beneficial. Let me explain…

We’re a generation of do-gooders, eager to make an impact on the world through our jobs. We have a selfish and selfless desire to innovate and help the world become a better place. More importantly, we feel a need to be positive contributors in both our personal and work lives, in order to derive meaningful outcomes.

What we millennials want, may not be necessarily bad! Dharmesh Shah, CEO of HubSpot aptly expressed this in his recent LinkedIn post titled: “Why Should Gen Y Get All The Love?” There are many values which we Gen Y’ers seek, which can truly help everyone be more productive, engaged and effective at work.

So, What Do Millennials Want?

To do meaningful work and make a difference.
As a socially conscious generation, we are constantly looking for new ways to make a positive impact. “This is why you see so many millennials become social entrepreneurs or support their local non-profit – they always need to feel like they are touching someone and making an impact.” (Source)

Given our desire to make a difference, we want our work to have purpose. Based on a study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the YEC, 30% of millennials say that meaningful work is a top job factor. And even further, Gen Y women report a sense of fulfillment when work is enjoyable, meaningful, and leads to professional growth. (Source)

Frequent and specific feedback.
Gen Y desires on-the-spot feedback and recognition. “A whopping 80% of Millennials said they would rather receive feedback in real time.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise given our nature of being digitally savvy. Most everything we do online these days is in real time.

Real time feedback allows us to regularly see our progress and make any necessary adjustments along the way. And it makes us feel good. As Shah also writes, [t]hey crave regular and immediate advice, reaction, response, and praise because they have a constant drive to “calibrate.”

Millennials want to know much more about the companies they work for and become skeptical when they are kept in the dark about important decisions and discussions.

Hubspot recognized this need, and created a culture where “uncomfortable transparency” is celebrated. Learn more about this radical idea here.

“Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.”
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Collaborative work-culture.
Far from the belief that millennials are selfish and self-absorbed, we thrive in team-based cultures and 88% [of us] prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one. Growing up in the digital age means we’re uber connected and value the ability to easily collaborate with individuals and teams in and out of the workplace.

Millennial and entrepreneur Austin Church sums it up nicely, “I think collaboration, rather than competition, defines the Millennial generation. The combative posture inherent to competition in business doesn’t get you very far these days.”

88% of Millennials prefer a collaborative work-culture over a competitive one.
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To learn, grow and develop their talent.
Millennials are continuous learners and there is evidence that learning opportunities increase retention rates. As was found in a Bellevue University study of Mutual of Omaha, employees who participated in the company’s tuition reimbursement program were twice as likely to stay.

Millennials want to grow and develop themselves in their area of expertise as well as broaden industry and functional knowledge. Self-management, personal productivity skills and innovation strategies are what millennials also hope to learn at work. This helps make us feel like we are valued and that our managers and mentors are investing in our long-term growth.

Mentors and supportive leaders.
One of the main reasons this generation skips around from job to job is lack of support and understanding from managers. 53 percent [of millennials] said that a mentor would help them become a better and more productive employee. (Source). Yet, 75 percent [of millennials] believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders. Deloitte’s research shows that programs to build leadership among millennials are one of the weakest areas within corporate HR today.

Most important of all, we want to be recognized for the collaborative, innovative, optimistic and socially conscious generation we are.


Regardless of what generation we were born in, it would benefit us all to be supportive of one another, given the changing face of business. Making a difference, work transparency, frequent feedback, teamwork culture are what keep millennials like me engaged and motivated in our jobs. But isn’t all this good for everyone else and their places of work?

-Lolly Fitzpatrick